SALES of Royal Wedding memorabilia in Milton Keynes have helped national store chain Debenhams boost its interim profits by 4.5 per cent to £129.2 million.
The chain’s store in central Milton Keynes was modernised last year and the company says it has proved ‘really popular’ with customers.
Top seller among the ‘incredibly popular’ Royal Wedding memorabilia was a £45 trinket box.
Among other highlights are that the store sells around 200 handbags each week, with Touche Eclat the best beauty seller
The increase in profits means that the retailer has produced six consecutive halves of pre-tax profit growth. It will also be reintroducing a dividend for shareholders and has reduced its debt by £165.2 million.
Debenhams is going hard for the affordable fashion market by selling the work of new young designers like Jonathan Saunders, Preen and Jonathan Kelsey
The existing Designers at Debenhams portfolio has been extended with Julien Macdonald adding ‘Diamond’ to his offer.
One of the biggest sellers was cosmetics and perfumes, with an increase in market share from 26.8 to 28.1 per cent.
Online sales have jumped by 82.4 per cent, boosted by a new mobile iPhone app which lets customers buy products from anywhere.
Its brand advertising campaign, featuring well known designers including Jasper Conran, Aliza Reger, Ben de Lisi and Julien Macdonald, is also paying off with sales of products featured soaring. In some cases lines were up 300 per cent.
The retailer also saw market gains in women’s casualwear and childrenswear.
And Debenhams believes the price of cotton may fall soon, bringing lower prices and better value to customers.
Other highlights include:
Lipsticks, mascara and nail varnish combined sales break the one million volume barrier in the first six months of the year for the first time
Rob Templeman, chief executive of Debenhams said: “Looking forward, there are some encouraging signs that commodity prices such as cotton may fall which could be positive for both consumers and retailers in terms of pricing We will continue to ensure that our focus on offering our customers outstanding choice, quality and value remains at the forefront of our decision making.”