RFID platform boosts Debenhams' profits

Along with a restyled website...

Along with a restyled website...

Department store chain Debenhams has credited investment in a new IT platform and its ecommerce website for helping to boost annual profits to £131.4m.

Pre-tax profits are up 11.5 per cent for the 12 months ended 30 September 2007, while sales also increased by 5.1 per cent to £2.3bn as the Debenhams revival continues.

Rob Templeman, Debenhams CEO, said in a statement: "Despite wider concerns about the macro economic environment and how this will impact on the retail sector, we are confident that the changes we are making throughout Debenhams are benefiting the business. Our new autumn/winter ranges are being well received and this, together with the refitting of stores and previous investment in a new IT platform and distribution centre, is improving the customer experience."

silicon.com Retail & Leisure

Get the latest retail and leisure news straight to your inbox. Sign up for the R&L newsletter today!

Debenhams said it spent £37.1m in the last year developing and improving the infrastructure of the business, particularly in the IT area.

Part of this investment in technology includes a radio frequency ID platform across the store base to help track and monitor stock levels.

Debenhams has also invested heavily in its online store over the last year with a complete rebuild and upgrade of the Debenhams.com ecommerce operation. Debenhams said the website will soon become the chain's largest store.

Although still a relatively small portion of Debenhams' overall business the website, which was relaunched in November 2006, saw a 31 per cent increase in orders and a 32 per cent increase in gross transaction value.

A Debenhams trading update statement said: "These investments have been essential to provide a sound foundation for the development of the business."