Debenhams has reported a pre-tax profit rise of 5.5% to £93.8m for the HY ended 27th February 2016, with both transaction value and LFL sales modestly up.

Michael Sharp, chief executive of Debenhams, who will step down this year, says: "A strong operational performance resulted in a record Christmas, and further growth in first half profits against a good performance in the prior year. Our customers are responding positively to our multichannel strategy, finding our mix of products and brands both compelling and great value for money.

"Although there is plenty more to do, we are on track to deliver full year results in line with market expectations. When I leave the business later this year I am confident that it will be in a good position to deliver continued sustainable growth under a strong and capable management team."

David Smith, formerly MD (Asia Pacific) of the Body Shop International, has been appointed international director, and will join the company next month.