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Monday, 27 April, 1998, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
New look for Debenhams
High street
High Streets round the country will see 16 new Debenhams
Debenhams has stepped up its expansion drive by announcing it is to open another six stores, creating around 2,400 jobs.

The new stores bring to 16 the total number now planned by spring 2002, creating 6,000 jobs in all.

Debenhams was part of the Burton Group until January when it was split from the high street fashion outlets, such as Burtons and Dorothy Perkins - which now form part of newly created Arcadia - to become a separate stock market quoted company.

The six new Debenhams stores will be at Weymouth, Carlisle, Milton Keynes, Sunderland, Oxford, and York, with the last two replacing existing stores.

The 10 new stores already announced are at Trafford Park, Brighton, Leeds, Reading, Banbury, Uxbridge, Dundee, Inverness, the MetroCentre at Gateshead, and Birmingham.

News of the speeded-up expansion programme came as Debenhams announced its first set of results since the demerger from Burton Group.

First-half pre-tax profits rose 16% to 77.1m from the 66.3m surplus achieved at the same stage a year ago and were ahead of City forecasts of 72.5m to 76.5m.

The figure was achieved on the back of an 8% rise in group sales to 770.2m from 714.5m.

Debenhams chairman Peter Jarvis said: "Despite testing conditions on the high street at the moment, current trading is in line with expectations, which we view with cautious optimism."

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