Debenhams chief financial officer Simon Herrick has resigned only days after the retailer revealed that Christmas trading profits were disappointing.

Neil Kennedy, director of finance, has taken over as acting CFO on an interim basis after Herrick leaves on 7 February this year.

"On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Simon for his hard work and contribution over the past two years. We wish him well in the future," said Michael Sharp, chief executive of Debenhams in a statement.

A search to find Herrick's replacement is underway, said the company.

The Debenhams stock price fell by just over 14% in the trading period immediately following an announcement of price cuts and a hit on profits.

It has forecast profit before tax for the first half of its fiscal year to be in the region of £85m (€102m, $140.47m), a 26% plunge from last year. Analysts had previously expected a first-half pretax profit of £112m.

Debenhams, which is Britain's second largest department store by sales, added that "the retail section as a whole has been highly competitive with an unprecedented level of promotional activity.

Meanwhile, its rival John Lewis revealed today that it had its best Christmas trading period on record with a 7% rise in sales.