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UK’s Debenhams store close putting over 4000 jobs at risk

Debenhams, a British multinational retailer, is closing 50 of its underperforming stores, affecting over 4000 jobs at risk.

Desk Report

Debenhams is closing 50 of its underperforming stores, affecting over 4000 jobs at risk, after it reported on 25 October, a record full-year loss of nearly $645 million.

Debenhams is closing 50 of its underperforming stores, affecting over 4000 jobs at risk
Figure: Debenhams is closing 50 of its underperforming stores, affecting over 4000 jobs at risk. Courtesy: Debenhams

Chief Executive Sergio Bucher said, “We are taking tough decisions on stores where financial performance is likely to deteriorate over time but I was taking decisive steps to strengthen the company in a challenging market.”

Bucher, a former Amazon Executive, is trying to keep Debenhams relevant to British shoppers who are increasingly buying online and spending less on clothes.

The cuts are deeper than Bucher’s original plan to close 10 stores, downsize others and renegotiate leases and rents on its estate.

We are taking tough decisions on stores where financial performance is likely to deteriorate over time but I was taking decisive steps to strengthen the company in a challenging market.

Sergio Bucher. chief executive, Debenhams

Last month, Debenhams denied it was actively planning a major pick of its 166-store UK estate. The shops, which have not been named, will close in the next 3 to 5 years.

According to the report, Debenhams, which has issued three profit warnings this year, wrote off $661.45 million on leases and goodwill, leading to a loss of $634 million, the biggest in its 240-year history.

Bucher further added, “Debenhams remains a strong and trusted brand with 19m customers shopping with us over the past year. Our transformation strategy is gaining traction, with positive results from new product and new formats, general acclaim for our store of the future in Watford and digital growth that is outpacing the market.”

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