Debenhams will review the future of 10 UK stores as it confirmed profit before tax fell 6.4% year-on-year to £87.8m for the 26 weeks ended 4 March.
The department store retailer has unveiled a new strategy called Debenhams Redesigned as it revealed gross transaction value rose 2.9% to £1.7bn but gross margin fell 30 basis points compared to the same period last year.
UK like-for-like sales increased by 0.5%, reflecting further growth in non-clothing categories and strong online momentum, but group EBITDA fell 2.5% to £149.1m.
The new strategy aims to focus on experiential shopping, prioritise digital growth and drive efficiencies by simplifying the business.
The ‘Fix the basics’ plan is already underway and includes switching around 2,000 more staff to customer-facing roles, as well as reducing stock options by around 10%.
The retailer will also replenish stock faster and declutter the store environment.
It will start consultations to close one central distribution centre and around 10 smaller regional warehouses, as well as reviewing up to 10 UK stores for closure over the next five years.
Debenhams will also exit some brands and “non-core” international markets.
“Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use,” said chief executive Sergio Bucher. “We will be a destination for “Social Shopping” with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers.
“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.”