Debenhams, the country’s second largest department store group, today announced plans to close one of its central distribution centres as well as 10 regional warehouses, in addition to potentially closing 10 stores in the next five years. The news come alongside half-year results showing the company has seen a 11.3 per cent fall in operating profits with like-for-like store sales dropping 1.3 per cent.
Debenhams’ new chief executive Sergio Bucher, who joined the company from Amazon last October, said: “Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too. Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun, whichever channel our customers use. We will be a destination for “social shopping” with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers.”
The new strategy will see the group axe some of its in-house brands, leave some international markets and shift around 2,000 staff to customer-facing roles with the goal of luring shoppers back to its stores. Bucher also says he wants to de-clutter stores as part of the new ‘Fix the Basics’ plan, following feedback from customers who said shopping in some Debenhams branches was like a “treasure hunt”.
“If we deliver differentiated and distinctive brands, services and experiences both online and in stores, our customers will visit us more frequently and, having simplified our operations to make us more efficient, we will be able to serve them better and make better use of our resources,” he added.