Apr 20, 2017

Debenhams to close stores as profits fall

The former Amazon and Nike executive hired to turn around ailing retailer Debenhams has announced plans to close up to 10 of its department stores and 11 warehouses. Announcing his plan to "Redesign" Debenhams after seven months as chief executive, Sergio Bucher said he would revamp its 165 UK stores, make the company more efficient and focused on shopping on mobile phones. Mr Bucher said the revamped stores would continue to include Sports Direct, Mike Ashley's bargain-basement retailer that has seven concessions in Debenhams stores and a 5 per cent non-voting interest in the company's shares. Debenhams encountered particular difficulties because it was locked into long leases on its stores during its years under private equity ownership in the mid-2000s. The strategy was announced alongside half-year results that showed a fall in pre-tax profits and a rise in sales that was entirely due to the currency effect on revenues from overseas stores.

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