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Debenhams has issued a profit warning

Debenhams has warned of a profit slump Photo: PA

Department store chain Debenhams has warned that "volatile" conditions on the high street could impact full-year profits.

The retailer said sales slumped in the 15 weeks to June 17, with unpredictable trading and a weaker clothing market hitting the firm.

Debenhams said like-for-like sales fell 0.9% in the period, or 2.4% on a constant currency basis.

We currently anticipate that 2017 profit before tax will be within the range of market expectations.

However, should current market volatility continue, the outcome could be towards the lower end of the current range.

– Debenhams statement

New boss Sergio Bucher, who took over as chief executive last October, is attempting a turnaround of the firm.

Plans to close its Lodge Farm distribution centre near Northampton are among proposed changes.

Sales of beauty, accessories and food and drink helped to mitigate the impact of a weaker clothing market, Debenhams said, with food sales rising 5%.

Group like-for-like sales in the year to June 17 rose 1.8%.

His turnaround will also see the group cull in-house brands and leave some international markets, while also shifting around 2,000 staff to customer-facing roles as part of a drive to lure shoppers back to its stores.<

He said on Tuesday:

As industry data has confirmed, May was a tough month for retailers and we continue to see volatility in trading week to week.

As a result we are focused on delivering cost control and self-help through our 'Fix the Basics' plan. We continue to build good foundations for longer term growth.

– Chief Executive of Debenhams, Sergio Bucher