Debenhams could close 10 stores and 11 warehouses as part of new turnaround strategy

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 21 Apr 2017

UP TO 10 Debenhams stores could close over the next five years as part of plans announced by the company today (Thursday, April 20).

The department store chain, which has a branch at the North Lincolnshire Shopping Park in Scunthorpe, is also set to close a central distribution warehouse and around 10 smaller warehouses.

The plans form part of a turnaround strategy aimed at boosting the appeal of Debenhams as a "destination" shop, as well as improving the online service it provides to customers.

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Debenhams has 176 UK stores and has not named the 10 which are under review for closure.

According to the Mirror, details of the plans came as the group announced a 6.4 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £87.8 million for the six months to March 4.

The turnaround, outlined by Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher, will also see the group cull in-house brands and leave some international markets, while also moving around 2,000 staff to customer-facing roles as part of a drive to lure shoppers back to its stores.

This will see the group offer customers experiences as it battles against a wider trend to switch spending away from clothes towards eating out and holidays.

Mr Bucher was quoted by the Mirror as saying: "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."

Staff and shoppers have been assured by the company that no immediate closures of Debenhams stores are planned.

A spokeswoman said: "Debenhams' CEO announced our interim results and future strategy this morning, which includes looking at our store estate, and in particular which stores may become unprofitable in five years time.

"Whilst it is stated that approximately 10 stores are under review, any closures will happen over the coming years so there will not be any immediate implications.

"At the same time, we continue to open a small amount of stores in selected locations. As some stores close in due course we would seek to redeploy staff wherever possible."

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