One of the biggest blows to high street as Debenhams shuts almost 50 stores – confirmed by the officials.
In a battle of survival for the traditional retailers across the country facing crises. The department store is expected to post a loss of £500 million as they shut down dozens of shops. While last year Debenhams made profits of £59 million.
This shortfall is the biggest in the 240-years history and the largest in the UK by a major retailer. Creating a risk of 4,000 jobs in the next five years. Making the Debenhams estate come down to only 100 stores.
However the officials of Debenhams stores have not yet said which stores are earmarked for closure as it would depend on the financial results and projections in the next three-to-five years.
Boss 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’.
The dismal figures come amid speculation that Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley who already owns nearly 30 per cent of Debenhams, may be seeking to buy the chain on the cheap.
As part of the shake-up, Mr Bucher will look to take £130 million of costs out of the business, including suspending the dividend. Sales for the year also slipped 1.8 per cent to £2.9 billion while like-for-like revenue fell 2.3 per cent.
Debenhams, which has 26,000 staff, has seen its stock market value slump from £1.5 billion to just £105 million in the past six years amid mounting concerns over its future.