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Drapers Top 100 2017 – 40. Sergio Bucher, chief executive, Debenhams

Position last year: 37

Sergio Bucher has had a bit of a tough year getting to grips with Debenhams and seeking to stem its losses. Having taken charge of the department store chain in October 2016, he set about outlining his turnaround plan for the business – Debenhams Redesigned – in April. This included reviewing the future of 10 UK stores, closing one central distribution centre and around 10 smaller warehouses, and then implementing a focus on experiential shopping, prioritising digital growth and driving efficiencies across the business.

Under his leadership, Debenhams will also shake up its in-house brands, look for bigger opportunities in lingerie, footwear and accessories, and introduce new ranges from international brands. To declutter its stores, it will also reduce clothing stock options by around 10%.

However, the effectiveness of this turnaround plan is still to be seen. The latest results for the year to 2 September revealed pre-tax profits had fallen 44% to £59m, partly as a result of a £36.2m exceptional charge related to the closing of warehouses and international franchise stores. Group like-for-like sales rose 2.1%.


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