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Exclusive: Redundancies loom at Debenhams

Debenhams is making up to 60 roles redundant at its London head office and Taunton support centre, Drapers understands.

Staff members are undergoing a consultation process. Drapers understands the roles are focused in back-office and central support teams. It is also believed that Debenhams is minimising the recruitment for new positions and is focusing on business-critical roles. 

There are currently 1,200 people working at Debenhams’ London head office and Taunton support centre. 

The job cuts are part of the retailer’s on-going cost-cutting programme. 

Earlier this month Sports Direct owner Ashley, who also owns almost 30% of Debenhams, managed to win enough votes at the retailer’s annual general meeting to force chairman Sir Ian Cheshire to resign, and to remove chief executive Sergio Bucher from the board.

In a statement Debenhams said the board still had “full confidence” in Bucher as CEO and that it was in the “best interests of Debenhams that the executive team remains fully focused on delivery of the [turnaround] plan”.

The department store group announced a £491.5m statutory pre-tax loss for the year to 1 September 2018 – down from a £59m profit the previous year. EBITDA fell by 27.5% to £157.3m and its underlying profit before tax more than halved, dropping 65.1% to £33.2m.

Like-for-like sales were down by 2.3%, and Debenhams described beauty and fashion as “weak” areas.

Gross transaction value for the year also fell, by 1.8% to £2.9bn.

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