By Jonathan Davies

Debenhams shares fell by 8% in early trading today (Tuesday) despite announcing record sales in run-up to Christmas.

Underlying sales in the final four weeks were up 4.9% and online sales grew by 28.9%.

But overall sales for the last three months of 2014 were down 0.8% compared with the same period last year.

Like many other clothing retailers, the department store chain was hit by low sales of winter clothing as a result of a mild autumn.

Michael Sharp, chief executive of Debenhams, said: "I am pleased with our performance in the critical Christmas trading weeks, driven by our strength in a diverse range of product categories and a strong marketing campaign focused on gifting.

"Our performance steadily improved following the well documented challenges in the clothing market in the autumn."

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