Debenhams boss reveals new turnaround strategy


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Debenhams department store has unveiled its new turnaround strategy aimed at enhancing its appeal as a “destination” shop and improving its mobile presence.

It follows news that the group’s half-year pre-tax profits fell by 6.4 per cent to £88 million.

It said its turnaround strategy involved up to 10 of its 176 UK stores closing over the next five years, as well a central distribution warehouse and about 10 smaller warehouses.

Sergio Bucher, Debenhams’s new chief executive, said the store will be a destination for social shopping, “with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers”.

He said its customers were changing the way they shopped and therefore Debenhams was also changing.

The department store also said it will increase investment in its store cafes, restaurants and beauty services.

Mr Bucher explained that leisure activities accounted for an increasing share of consumer spending and that the “leisure experience is an important part of shopping”.

The store’s chairman, Sir Ian Cheshire, said: “People really still enjoy the social aspect to shopping and that can be the traditional version, which is that you go out with some friends and you have a coffee, or a glass of prosecco or something like that and you really browse the store.

“Or it’s also now online social shopping, so you’re actually checking out with your friends… I’m thinking about this, put it on Instagram, what do you think?

“And it’s the enjoyment of shopping that we still think is a very big motivator.”

He added that the strategy is about growth and not job losses.