Jobs at risk in plans to axe up to 50 stores

Stockport Express - - News -

DEBEN­HAMS has un­veiled plans to axe up to 50 stores.

About 4,000 jobs are at risk fol­low­ing a prof­its plunge at the strug­gling depart­ment store chain.

Deben­hams bosses say the clo­sures – which amount to about a third of the firm’s 166 stores – will take place over three to five years.

It’s not clear if Deben­ham’s Stock­port store or the firm’s huge Mar­ket Street site in Manch­ester city cen­tre are at risk, as it has not re­vealed which branches are ear­marked for clo­sure.

There are also Deben­hams stores in Bolton, Wi­gan, Bury, Old­ham and Al­trin­cham. The an­nounce­ment comes along­side a dire set of fi­nan­cial fig­ures.

Deben­hams recorded a £491.5m loss in the year to Septem­ber 1, com­pared to a £59m profit in 2017.

Boss Ser­gio Bucher said: “It has been a tough year for re­tail in 2018 and our per­for­mance re­flects that.

“We are tak­ing de­ci­sive steps to strengthen Deben­hams in a mar­ket that re­mains volatile and chal­leng­ing. We are tak­ing tough decisions on stores where fi­nan­cial per­for­mance is likely to de­te­ri­o­rate over time.”

As part of the shakeup, Mr Bucher will look to take £130m of costs out of the busi­ness, in­clud­ing sus­pend­ing the div­i­dend. Sales for the year also slipped 1.8 per cent to £2.9bn while like-for-like rev­enue fell 2.3pc.

Mr Bucher said: “Deben­hams re­mains a strong and trusted brand with 19 mil­lion cus­tomers shop­ping with us over the past year.

“With a strength­ened bal­ance sheet, we will focus in­vest­ment be­hind our strate­gic pri­or­i­ties and en­sure that Deben­hams has a sus­tain­able and prof­itable fu­ture.”

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