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Though the company dates back to 1778 the Debenhams name first appeared in 1813 as the partnership of Clark and Debenham in Londons Wigmore Street Prospering throughout the 19th century the business grew to include a number of retail outlets all over the country as well as clothing manufacturing operations In 1905 the business was incorporated and Debenhams first department store was opened In 1928 Debenhams was listed on the London Stock Exchange where it traded as an independent company and continued to expand In 1985 Debenhams was acquired by the Burton Group and had a portfolio of 65 department stores in key locations across the United Kingdom In the late 1980s and early 90s Debenhams management began to reposition the business introducing exclusive ranges of own-brand merchandise across key product areas In January 1998 Debenhams demerged from the Burton Group and became once again an independently listed company on the London Stock Exchange now Debenhams plc We have continued to develop our unique mix of exclusive own brands including Designers at Debenhams international brands and concessions According to recent independent research carried out by Verdict we have increased our share of the UK department store market to over 13 per cent Debenhams has a clear strategy to drive future profitability and grow market share This is being achieved by increasing our sales to our existing customers attracting new customers and moving into new markets We currently operate 96 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland and our store-opening programme plans for 103 sites by 2004 Making our merchandise even more accessible we also continue to develop and enhance the offers available through our website and home shopping channel What differentiates Debenhams from other retailers is our unique combination of own-bought brands exclusive designer ranges and leading international brands with approximately half our merchandise available only at Debenhams This unique mix of premium brands at affordable prices enables us
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