Debenhams boosted by cosmetics sales

Debenhams store
Image caption Greater use of discounting helped the department store increase its sales and gain market share

Debenhams has reported rising sales, helped by the "lipstick factor" after cosmetics sales proved resilient.

Like-for-like sales excluding VAT were up 1.5% in the 17 weeks to 25 June, bucking the weak trend seen elsewhere on the UK High Street.

The department store chain said its market share was up, but profit margins were hit by greater discounting.

It also said it would revamp another 20 stores in the next year, on top of 11 already underway, creating 600 jobs.

The firm reconfirmed its profits guidance for the current year at £158m.

Chief executive Rob Templeman, who retires in September, said that the health and beauty sector was "probably one of the most resilient areas in the market".

"Everybody calls it the 'lipstick factor', that people still buy health and beauty whatever," he added.

Business continued to shift to the web, with online and mobile sales up 77% in the past 10 months.

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