Price matching at John Lewis eroded its ability to make profits in the first half even though its fashion ops grew and it outperformed the market on that front. It's uncertain about what the second half will bring too.
Shares in Debenhams rose as much as 9 percent on Wednesday after an outgoing director of Sports Direct said the sportswear firm's board had discussed combining the department store group with House of Fraser.
A merger between Sports Direct's House of Fraser and rival Debenhams, in which the retailer owns almost a 30% stake, has been discussed by the Sports Direct board, but the firm said it has no plans to bid for the chain.
Mike Ashley, the billionaire founder and majority owner of Sports Direct, faces a potential shareholder revolt at the company's annual meeting on Wednesday, though he will not be present to hear any protests.
House of Fraser may be about to take a crucial step forward under its new owners with news that its website could reopen as soon as next week and with new deliveries beginning to appear in its stores.