Mar 5, 2019

Debenhams in profit alert as sales continue to slide

It said like-for-like sales for the 26 weeks to 2 March were down 5.3%. Debenhams said talks with stakeholders to put it on a firmer footing were "Continuing constructively". High Street retailers have been under increasing pressure as more people choose to shop online and visit stores less. Debenhams - which has 165 stores and employs about 25,000 people - reported a record pre-tax loss of £491.5m last year and said more recently that sales had fallen sharply over Christmas. Last year, rival department store chain House of Fraser fell into administration before Mike Ashley, the billionaire Sports Direct founder, bought the department store's assets for £90m. Mr Ashley is also a major shareholder in Debenhams, with a 29% stake, and he recently joined together with investor Landmark Group to vote the retailer's chairman and chief executive off the board. Mr Bucher is chief executive of Debenhams but no longer sits on the board.

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