UK's Debenhams steps up spending in bid to return to growth


The UK-based worldwide high street retail group, Debenhams, is considering plans to close up to ten of its stores in the UK over the next three years as part of a major strategic review announced this morning with its half-year results.

The revamp at Debenhams is aimed at reducing clutter and replenishing stocks more quickly - a key element of Inditex-owned fast-fashion chain Zara's success - the United Kingdom company said.

It has also begun consultation on the closure of one central distribution centre and around 10 smaller regional warehousing facilities.

Bosses at the department store group announced a turnaround strategy this week which they say is aimed at boosting its appeal as a "destination" shop and improving its online offering.

Debenhams has announced it is to undergo a turnaround strategy, which may involve the closure of 10 of its United Kingdom stores.

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EBITDA also dipped to £149.1m from £153m the year before while group profit before tax was down 6.4 per cent to £87.8m.

It would switch around 2,000 more staff to customer facing roles, declutter stores with a 10 percent reduction in stock options and replenish stock faster.

He said Debenhams was responding to changes in shopping habits to leisure spending and online purchasing. The shakeup will cost an extra £50m in the next three years.

Department store company Debenhams is considering closing up to ten of its 176 United Kingdom stores.

It plans to drop some brands and withdraw from some countries, and will provide more details when it publishes its full-year results in October.

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He said he wanted to de-clutter stores after customers complained it was like a "treasure hunt" shopping in some branches.

Like other retailers, the firm plans to run fewer but more targeted and personalised promotions after consulting customers, its trading director, Suzanne Harlow, said.

Analysts welcomed the plans but voiced caution.

Debenhams is also looking at trialling departments that will tie up click-and-collect with personal shopping services, while also considering converting some smaller stores to outlets.

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