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Debenhams reportedly looking to close third of UK stores

PUBLISHED: 09:56 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:36 22 October 2018

Debenhams shop / store, Norwich PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Debenhams shop / store, Norwich PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2009

Department store Debenhams could shut a third of its 166 UK stores according to new reports.

The chain has issued three profit warnings so far this year, as well as reporting a sharp fall in sales and axing 90 members of staff at its headquarters.

Now sources have told City AM that the retailer wants to save £70m by negotiating rents with landlords and closing up to 55 stores.

Debenhams also reportedly wants to save a further £30m by freezing payments to shareholders.

Debenhams has stores across East Anglia in King’s Lynn, Norwich, and Great Yarmouth.

It also has stores in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, and Colchester.

Consultants from auditing firm KPMG have reportedly stepped in to turn around the chain’s fortunes, with the move expected to be announced with the chain’s annual results on Thursday.

Richard Lim of Retail Economics, told the BBC: “The fact KPMG have been brought in does not surprise me. Debenhams will be wanting to look at all the options open to them.

“The harsh reality is that they are operating in one of the most challenging parts of retailing at the moment.”

The news comes just a month after the chain launched its “department store of the future” flagship shop in Watford.

The store will stock 25% fewer products to make more space for personal styling, beauty make overs and massages, as well as restaurants and bars selling prosecco and gin.

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