Department stores group Debenhams on Tuesday posted a jump in first half profits and sales and unveiled plans to create 1,000 jobs through the opening of four new stores.

The company said in a statement hat pre-tax profits in the 26 weeks to March 2 increased 14 per cent to £92.1 million from £80.8m in the year-ago period.

Total sales grew by 8.1 per cent to £937.9m from £867.4m, while like-for-like sales for the past six weeks are up by about five per cent.

The strong results were at the top end of analysts' expectations as they thought Debenhams would be hit by the recent revival of high street giant Marks and Spencer.

Debenhams chief executive, Belinda Earl, said: "It is a competitive marketplace, but we welcome competition and we are very happy with where we are trading at the moment."

The company, which currently operates 97 stores across the UK, added it plans to open four more outlets this year and a further seven over the following three years.