Leading department stores operator Debenhams admitted on Tuesday it has been forced to deepen price cuts following a poor start to its summer sale amid poor weather. The company said gross margins in the 20 weeks to July 20 fell by 0.6 of a percentage point as prices were cut to shift stock. It added like-for-like sales during the period were up 6.2 per cent compared to last year, and total sales up 6.9 per cent.