Debenhams in profit alert as sales continue to slide

Struggling department store chain Debenhams has issued another profit warning as its sales continue to fall.

In a trading update, the retailer said the forecast it made on 10 January, when it said full-year profits were set to hit analysts’ expectations of about £8.2m, was “no longer valid”.

Like-for-like sales at the firm for the 26 weeks to 2 March were down 5.3%. Debenhams said talks with stakeholders to put it on a firmer footing were “continuing constructively”.

The retailer, which issued three profit warnings last year, said it would provide a further update with its interim results statement.

Sergio Bucher, the chief executive of Debenhams, said: “We are making good progress with our stakeholder discussions to put the business on a firm footing for the future.

“We still expect that this process will lead to around 50 stores closing in the medium term.”

He said the business would need the help of landlords and local authorities to address rent and rate levels and lease commitments.