Debenhams to close up to 50 stores

PUBLISHED: 09:36 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:12 25 October 2018

Debenhams in Stevenage. Picture: Danny Loo

Debenhams in Stevenage. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Debenhams, which has branches in Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City, has announced it will shut up to 50 stores nationwide after its latest profits tumbled.

The department store chain has announced a 65 per cent drop in pre-tax profits compared to 2017, and is facing a loss of £491million in its most recent half-year results.

The company has not announced which of the stores will close, but said it will be “underperforming stores over three to five years old”.

This suggests that Stevenage’s Debenhams branch at Roaring Meg Retail and Leisure Park, which only opened in 2017, will survive the cull.

The company is drawing in its horns and aims to save £130million by 2020.

In April, Debenhams announced a profits tumble of 84.6 per cent, blamed the performance on the ‘beast from the east’ storms which shut down nearly 100 branches and prompted competitors to reduce their prices aggressively.

• READ MORE: Debenhams’ profits tumble

CEO Sergio Boucher said today: “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 ... At the same time, we are taking tough decisions on stores where financial performance is likely to deteriorate over time.

“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.

“With a strengthened balance sheet, we will focus investment behind our strategic priorities and ensure that Debenhams has a sustainable and profitable future.”

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