Department store group Debenhams has revealed plans to spend £18 million sprucing up the eight Allders stores it picked up, following the collapse of its ill-fated rival.
The news came as it revealed a strong set of quarterly results in which like-forlike sales were up 2.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to February 26 - boosting its market share.
Amid signs of tough-trading conditions, Debenhams said all its product categories performed well with the Designers at Debenhams driving growth. A spokesman said its showcase Bullring store in Birmingham had also continued to perform strongly.
The group was also helped by initiatives to improve its supply chain, as the company was better able to keep shelves stocked and introduce newer products.
Overall, turnover lifted 5.7 per cent to £594.8 million, although this was down on the eight per cent improvement seen in the previous quarter. Trading profits, which have been boosted by the one-off impact of property deals, rose 79.4 per cent to £95.1 million.
Across the 26 weeks to February 26, Debenhams said like-for-like sales rose 4.2 per cent with trading profits up 63.7 per cent at £152.2 million. Pre-tax profits lifted 269.5 per cent to £162.2 million, in part because of property transactions.
The group, which was acquired by a consortium of private equity groups for £1.7 billion in December 2003, recently took its number of branches to 116 after acquiring eight stores from the administrators of collapsed chain Allders.
Allders, meanwhile, are facing £90 million losses from the collapse of the department stores chain.