NEWS

Debenhams to close 50 stores, 4,000 jobs at risk

Published on: 25th October 2018

The retailer has posted record annual losses of nearly half a billion pounds. 

In the year to September the department store group lost £491.5m, against profits of £59m the year before.

Debenhams, which has 166 branches, previously said it planned to close 10 stores.

Boss Sergio Bucher said the company was “taking tough decisions” on stores where financial performance was likely to deteriorate over time.

The retailer is not releasing a list of the stores at risk of closure.

Sergio said the additional 40 stores earmarked for closure were “currently contributing positively” to the business, but added: “However, rolling forward current trends, we do not believe they will remain profitable in future years and therefore we intend to exit these stores over the next 3-5 years.”

The BBC understands about 4,000 jobs could be affected by the changes, but Debenhams said it hoped there would be a “minimum” of compulsory redundancies and that some of the departures would be people who would have left the business anyway.

Debenhams has been undergoing a revamp aimed at reviving its fortunes, redesigning stores and introducing new “experiences” including beauty treatments and Prosecco bars.

Sergio said it had identified a “profitable core of up to 100 stores in flagship and vibrant markets” where it could see a positive return on future investment.

These stores account for more than 80% of the chain’s profits.

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