ibusinesslines.com July 21, 2017

Debenhams outlines turnaround strategy with stores set to close

20 April 2017, 04:09 | Jodi Jackson

Hundreds of jobs in danger as Debenhams boss announces warehouse closures

General Views of Debenhams on Londons Oxford street on January 10th 2011

The announcement came the same day that competitor Marks & Spencer Group Plc unveiled the first details of a five-year program to add dedicated food stores and shut some of its main town-centre sites.

Its overseas arm, which is led by its biggest worldwide business, Magasin du Nord in Denmark, received a boost from the weak pound, with operating profits jumping 12.3 per cent to £26.4m.

In a move that mirrors efforts by its American cousin, Macy's (M), which announced 100 store closures a year ago, Debenhams said it would begin consultations on the shuttering of one central distribution center and around 10 smaller regional warehouses alongside the store closures.

For Debenhams, the move comes as a part of the "Fix The Basics" plan introduced by CEO Sergio Bucher when he joined the company a year ago, reports Sky News.

Underperforming brands will be dropped and it will improve its offer in categories such as fashion accessories and lingerie, while in beauty in has revealed an ambition to create a £1bn business.

Debenhams and Marks & Spencer are adapting to a climate where the growth of convenience stores and online shopping are causing retailers to scale back their traditional town-centre presence.

The group said it will report back with more details on the plans and worldwide markets being eyed for exit in October.

"In order to give us the capability to deliver our strategy, we intend to invest in upgrading our technology platform. We will unify our business via mobile, "mobile @everywhere", to connect with our customers via the device they always have with them", the company said.

"Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too", CEO Sergio Bucher said in a statement Thursday. Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use.

The department store is looking to boost its online service and rebrand itself as a "destination shop". "For Debenhams customers, the leisure experience is an important part of shopping and mobile interaction growing fast", which provides an opportunity for Debenhams to lead in this category.

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