Debenhams has said its pre-tax profits for the first half of its current financial year are likely to exceed the figure recorded 12 months previously.
The department store chain took advantage of a lower interest charge and higher margins in the 26 weeks to February 26th 2011. This helped to overcome the negative impact of December's adverse weather conditions.
Gross transaction value for the group rose 3.2 per cent year on year.
The company also revealed the initial customer response to its Edition designer fashion concept - launched in February - has been "extremely positive".
Rob Templeman, chief executive of Debenhams, said he is pleased with the results, particularly given the challenging trading environment.
"Our strategy of increasing own-bought sales, as well as focusing on profit and cash generation, has again delivered margin gains," he added.
The figures come after a challenging Christmas and new year period for the retailer, with like-for-like sales excluding VAT falling 1.3 per cent in the 19 weeks to January 8th.
Debenhams clothing sees growth in market share
10th January 2011
The retailer's sales and market share increased over the festive period.