Debenhams profit plunges 84 per cent after storm closes stores

Debenhams profit plunged 84 per cent in the half year to March 3.

The UK department store operator says its like-for-like sales fell 2.2 per cent during “challenging conditions” in its home market. Its pre-tax profit fell from £87.8 million in the same period last year to £13.5 million.

The company said a major contributor to its falling sales was the forced closure of about 100 stores after a major storm hit the UK in February. Christmas sales were also down.

“We approach the remainder of the year mindful of the very challenging market conditions, but with confidence that we have a strong team and the right plan to navigate them and return Debenhams to profitable growth,” said CEO Sergio Bucher in a statement.

“It has not been an easy first half and the extreme weather in the final week of the half had a material impact on our results,” he said.

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