Debenhams to close 50 stores after record losses of £500 million

Debenhams

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Debenhams is to close up to 50 high street shops after record losses of almost £500 million.

The closures will take place over a three to five-year period and is estimated to put around 4,000 jobs at risk.

The £491.5 million loss in the year to September 1, is the biggest in the retailers history. 

 

 

The chain's loss was a result of exceptional write-downs of £512.4 million, primarily relating to store and lease provisions, IT costs and impairment charges.

Debenhams CEO Sergio Bucher said it had been a "tough year" compared to 2017, when the group made a profit of £59 million.

 

'A tough year'

Sergio Bucher. Image: Getty

"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," he said.

"We are taking tough decisions on stores where financial performance is likely to deteriorate over time."

As part of the shake-up, Mr Bucher will look to take £130 million of costs out of the business, including suspending the dividend.

Sales for the year also slipped 1.8 per cent to £2.9 billion while like-for-like revenue fell 2.3 per cent.

Despite the losses, Mr Bucher insisted the chain remained "a strong and trusted brand".

He added: "I can promise my 26,000 staff across the UK that we will work very hard to protect as many stores and as many jobs as we can."