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Rob Templeman, Chief executive, Debenhams

Debenhams’ chief executive Rob Templeman’s cost control and focus on winning back market share through improved Designers At Debenhams and own-label ranges has meant like-for-like sales have not fallen as far as those at Next and Marks & Spencer have.

A new storefit at its unit at shopping centre Liverpool One resulted in a reduction in fashion options, and a broadening out of each Designers At sub-brand. The result has been additional choice for each designer-loyal customer group. The retailer has also introduced a fashion classics department to compete with the likes of M&S and to service shoppers looking for basics by product type.

But Debenhams is still burdened with a £1 billion debt which means it cannot afford many slip-ups. However, Templeman’s vast retail experience should stand the department store in good stead for a tough 2009.

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