Department store operator Debenhams is to raise GBP323m (US$529m) through a rights issue to reduce debts, the company said as it announced a 0.8% dip in like-for-like sales.

In an interim management statement for the 12 weeks to 23 May, the UK retail chain said total revenues were up 3%, but like-for-like sales edged down.

However, Debenhams claimed it had continued to gain total fashion market share, quoting figures from TNS Worldpanel Fashion for the 26 weeks to 26 April.

Pre-tax profit and EBITDA were also ahead of last year, the company noted.

"Our priorities for running Debenhams are unchanged, with a strong focus on the levers that deliver cash margin," said chief executive Rob Templeman.

"We are particularly pleased with the continued good performance of our own bought ranges, especially Designers at Debenhams, which has been driven by ongoing improvements to the design, quality and value of our own ranges."

Templeman added that the Debenhams board remained "confident" in its trading strategy, despite the uncertain economic outlook for the remainder of the financial year.

Debenhams said the proceeds of its proposed GBP323m rights issue would be used to reduce debt, provide greater operational and financial flexibility, and improve the company's ability to move quickly to buy up retail assets as the downturn continued.