In a matter of hours after announcing poor sales at Christmas shares in Debenhams plunged by over 10% today.
Announcing pre-tax profits that were about £25m adrift from market expectations, Debenhams share price went from 83p to 73p in just four hours after admitting that the anticipated final surge in the last week of the Christmas trading period had just not happened.
Like many retailers, Debenhams had cut prices dramatically in the run-up to Christmas and will probably offer even higher markdowns in the January sales to move its excess stock.
It is not known whether the poor results will have any effect on the company’s plans to open another 14 stores over the next four years.
Meanwhile John Lewis reported strong trading over Christmas, with like-for-like sales up 6.9% compared to December 2012. Sales rose 1.2% in the five weeks to 28 December with online sales soaring almost 23%.
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