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Debenhams shares up as investors back new strategy

Debenhams received the backing of investors today as it set out its plans for reviving the department store chain in the wake of a slide in profits.

Shares in the group were 5% higher after chief executive Michael Sharp pledged to refine the chain's promotional strategy and improve its multi-channel offering through much faster delivery times.

The FTSE 250 stock, which reported a 24.5% fall in half-year profits to £85.2 million, rose 4.1p to 81.7p, although this is still a long way short of the 114p seen in October.

The FTSE 100 Index slipped 6.4 points to 6577.3 as better-than-expected US retail sales figures were offset by uncertainty over the health of China's economy.

Brewer SABMiller was one of the biggest top flight fallers after it said currency headwinds will impact full-year results. Volumes grew by 2% over the year but this was not enough to prevent shares from falling 3% or 81.5p to 3042.5p, reversing some of the gains seen in the stock in recent weeks.

Generator supplier Aggreko, which will provide power at this summer's World Cup in Brazil, topped the FTSE 100 risers board after it said underlying revenues rose by 5% in the three months to March 31.

Shares lifted 48.5p to 1558.5p.

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