Debenhams brings in FD as lean Christmas looms

Department store Debenhams has ushered in FD for a financial brief after a shootout with rival agency Brunswick.

FD picks up the account just as Debenhams enters its busiest trading period of the year in the run-up to Christmas and after posting positive annual figures last month.

Debenhams, a FTSE 250 company, lost nearly half of its value after its listing in May last year. But the past seven weeks of trading for its financial year showed like-for-like growth of just over two per cent, with refitted stores showing as much as 10 per cent uplift in growth. The trading update saw shares initially surge by six per cent.

Debenhams instigated its agency switch after learning that Duncan Murray and Andy Cornelius will be ­leaving City agency College Hill (PRWeek, 19 October).

Cornelius and Murray, ­formerly of Gainsborough Communications, joined College Hill with a list of high-profile clients earlier this year (PRWeek, 3 February). Bicycle and car-parts chain Halfords also appointed a new City agency, opting for Hogarth (PRWeek, 7 ­November).

Cornelius and Murray had worked with Debenhams since 2004, advising the ­company while it was a private firm and subsequently through flotation.

Debenhams plans to ­compensate for what is ­expected to be a disappointing Christmas season for high-street retailers with a three-day sale starting on 21 November, offering up to 50 per cent ­reductions. At this time of year, sales are not normally held until after Christmas, indicating that firms ­expect the recent market turmoil to have a knock-on effect on the high street.

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