By Marcus Leach

Demand for designer clothes at affordable prices is helping iconic store Debenhams stay on track despite the recession, results released in the company’s interim management statement on Thursday showed.

Strong sales of cosmetics and fragrances, one of the most comprehensive swimwear ranges on the high street and rapidly increasing on-line sales have also enabled the company to maintain a good performance, especially over the past two months.

And a brand new customer trend — buying products using mobiles phone apps — is soaring in popularity.

Over half a million people have already downloaded a dedicated Debenhams iPhone app, which acts as a virtual shop assistant and consumer guide and sales using this method already exceed £1m.

This figure is expected to leap following the recent launch of similar Debenhams programmes for Nokia and Android mobile phone platforms as well as an equivalent app for Debenhams Beauty Club.

The retailer also announced the creation of 600 jobs with the investment in modernising 20 stores next year (2011/2012).

“Our self help strategy of investment ensures we are continuing to make progress despite significant headwinds in the sector and are pleased with the performance of the business in the year so far," said Debenhams Chief Executive Rob Templeman.

The news emerged during the company’s interim management statement, covering the 43 weeks to June 25, 2011.

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