Debenhams Plc (LON:DEB) issues its half-year results.
The shares of Debenhams (LON:DEB) jumped 7% to 86p during early London trade this morning, despite confirming half-year profits had slipped 5.4% to £120m following snowy conditions in January.
The high-street retailer, which operates 155 stores in the UK, revealed a 3.1% improvement in sales from last year to £1.29bn. This was aided by the first Christmas marketing campaign in six years, leading to record December sales that were 5% up on 2011.
Online sales continue to become more important to the company, and now represent almost 13% of revenues. However, margins for the period fell 0.2% lower than last year.
Debenhams continued to refurbish its stores, with nine completed in the period and five still in progress. The transformation of London's Oxford Street into the new international flagship store is on track to be completed by February 2014, which the company expects will significantly improve sales.
Chief executive Michael Sharp commented:
“We made progress during the first half, although snow in late January meant we did not achieve the profit outcome we had expected. Like-for-like sales grew for the fourth consecutive half and we saw positive market share momentum in key categories.
"We expect to make further progress in the second half despite consumer sentiment remaining weak and challenging market conditions. We are sure that this strategy is right for Debenhams and of the benefits it brings to the business and its shareholders.”
With a market cap of £1bn, Debenhams trades at almost 9 times current earnings and on a prospective dividend yield of around 4%.
Of course, whether the prospects for the UK retail industry are attractive, or the shares are still reasonably priced after today's 7% price increase, is something only you can decide.
But if you already own shares in Debenhams and are looking for alternative investment opportunities, this exclusive wealth report reviews five particularly attractive possibilities.
Indeed, all five opportunities offer a mix of robust prospects, illustrious histories and dependable dividends, and have just been declared by the Fool as "5 Shares You Can Retire On"!
Just click here for the report -- it's completely free.
> Mark does not own any share mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Debenhams.