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Business

Debenhams closures follow print division call

Debenhams decided to sell off its print division, Magenta Print and Display, earlier this year and has now announced the closure of 50 of its high street stores.

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The retailer previously said it intended to close ten stores

The firm is the latest of British high street brands to announce closures, following a tough few years thanks to the rise of online shopping. In a statement to investors today, chief executive officer Sergio Bucher comments: "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.

“Working with our new CFO Rachel Osborne, and the board, I am determined to maintain rigorous cost and capital discipline and to prioritise investment to achieve profitable growth. At the same time, we are taking tough decisions on stores where financial performance is likely to deteriorate over time.”

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

The retailer reported an underlying profit of £33.2m pre-tax, down a huge 65 percent since last year because of significant write-downs of £512.4m. The firm currently has 165 stores across the country. Elsewhere on the high street, Marks and Spencer and Mothercare have announced closures, whilst House of Fraser was bought out of administration by Mike Ashley of Sports Direct.

Bucher concludes in his statement: "Debenhams remains a strong and trusted brand with 19m customers shopping with us over the past year. Our transformation strategy is gaining traction, with positive results from new product and new formats, general acclaim for our store of the future in Watford and digital growth that is outpacing the market. With a strengthened balance sheet, we will focus investment behind our strategic priorities and ensure that Debenhams has a sustainable and profitable future."

Is this the shape of things to come on the British high street? Email your thoughts to summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or follow us on Twitter to have your say.


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