Debenhams expects website to become its biggest store 'soon'

High street retailer Debenhams expects its online operations to soon account for the largest proportion of its sales.

High street retailer Debenhams expects its online operations to soon account for the largest proportion of its sales.

Rob Templeman, the firm's CEO, said that following "significant investment in our online store", sales had risen 51% to around £30m. "We believe that it will [soon] become our largest store," he said.

Templeman said the redevelopment of the online shop "brings our product ranges to a larger audience and allows the development of niche micro-sites such as Health & Beauty.

"As a result, the number of orders received has risen substantially and gross transaction value has increased by 32% over last year."

He said more work on the site was underway to improve sales and extend the reach of the Debenhams brand to areas of the country not covered by its 141 stores.

Templeman said that the firm's capital spending programme over the past three years had been to add new stores and improve infrastructure. This included £37.1m this financial year for a warehouse at Peterborough and "numerous IT developments" that include an in-store radio frequency (RFID) platform to track goods.

In the year to 1 September 2007 Debenham's gross sales grew 5.1% to £2.3bn from £2.2bn and revenue increased by 3.9%, but like-for-like sales fell 5.0%. Gross transaction value from the web was up 32% on 2006 through a 31% increase in orders taken, he said.




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