Debenhams sees annual profits rise

Branch of Debenhams in Liverpool
Image caption Debenhams has 239 stores in 28 countries

Department store chain Debenhams has reported a rise in full year profits despite "challenging trading conditions".

Pre-tax profits for the year to 1 September rose 4.2% to £158.3m.

Debenhams said that the warm, dry autumn and cold, wet spring had hit demand for seasonal products, especially clothing.

It also said that concerns about the economies of the UK and the eurozone had made for a very difficult market.

Chief executive Michael Sharp said he did not anticipate "a significant change in the economic environment in 2013" because "customers are acclimatised to the new economic reality".

Like-for-like sales, which exclude the effects of new store openings, rose 2.3%.

The company plans to open 17 stores over the next five years.

It is in the process of modernising its stores in the UK and expects to have upgraded all of its core stores, including its flagship Oxford Street store, by Christmas 2014.

Eighteen of its shops have been modernised in the past year.

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