Debenhams considers closing 10 stores under new turnaround strategy

Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images.Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images.

Debenhams is considering closing 10 of its stores in a bid to cut costs and drive efficiency.

The department store chain said it plans to review up to 10 of its 176 UK stores for closure over the next five years.

A central distribution centre based in Northamptonshire and 10 smaller warehouses could also close under the new strategy.

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The news was revealed alongside half-year results showing a 6.4% fall in pre-tax profits to £87.8m and a slight increase in UK like-for-like sales of 0.5%.

Debenhams said it aims to drive frequency of visit both on and offline, as well as leveraging existing assets, including “good stores in strong locations; leading market positions in key product categories; and profitable and growing international business”.

It said it wanted to move around 2,000 members of staff into consumer-facing roles as part of the plan and “declutter” its store environment with a 10% reduction in stock options.

The retailer also aims to become a destination for “social shopping” by offering new products, services and experiences both online and in store.

Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher said: “Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too. Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use.

“We will be a destination for “social shopping” with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers. If we deliver differentiated and distinctive brands, services and experiences both online and in stores, our customers will visit us more frequently and, having simplified our operations to make us more efficient, we will be able to serve them better and make better use of our resources.”

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