British department store chain Debenhams posted another sales slide and continued to cite a tough retail environment. Overall sales for the 26 weeks ended 4 March were up, thanks mainly to new store openings including some of its smaller Desire outlets. However, like-for-like sales dropped 4.5 percent. On a more positive note, chief executive Rob Templeman was cautiously optimistic about the new spring and summer collections. “Although it is far too early to draw conclusions on the performace of our spring/summer ranges, we have been encouraged by the consumer reaction to our new collections. It’s only two weeks into the new season, but so far we’ve seen better momentum and better consumer reaction.” He did add, however, that he expected the retail environment to remain “challenging”. The company would therefore focus on managing stocks, costs and cash margins.

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