Debenhams announces 50 store closures and puts 4,000 jobs at risk

Debenhams announces 50 store closures and puts 4,000 jobs at risk
It has not yet been confirmed which Debenhams stores will close (Photo: Shutterstock)

Debenhams has announced that it will close up to 50 of its high street stores, putting as many as 4,000 jobs at risk.

The news comes after ongoing financial woes for the 205 year old company, which has suffered a loss of around half a billion pounds (£491.50 million), but only brought in a £59 million profit last year.

Debenhams is the latest retailer on the struggling British high street to buckle under the strain, and the impending store closures will result in the company losing a third of its 166 shops.

The business has confirmed that the closures will take place over a three to five year period.

Stores where there is no ‘long term future’ will be affected

Debenhams declined to release any information on which stores will be closing.

A spokesperson for the retailer said: “We have identified up to 50 stores, accounting for under 15 per cent of total sales, which are currently profitable, but where we do not see a long term future and which we intend to exit over the next three to five years.

“This is an ongoing five year programme and we are not disclosing a list of these stores.”

As part of the financial shake up, the department store will also suspend its dividend.

Chief executive Sergio Bucher said: “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.

“We are taking tough decisions on stores where financial performance is likely to deteriorate over time. ‘Debenhams remains a strong and trusted brand with 19 million customers shopping with us over the past year.

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