Jobs at risk in plans to axe up to 50 stores
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.”