UK

Debenhams to cut 2,500 store and warehouse jobs

Debenhams has announced plans to cut 2,500 jobs as the retail sector reels from the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

The chain, which was already struggling from weak sales before COVID-19 forced its store estate into hibernation in March, said it was taking the action as part of efforts to ensure the business has "every chance of a viable future."

The company had previously announced in May that it would not be reopening five of its stores, with 1,000 members of staff affected.

Image: Debenhams had taken a decision in May not to re-open five UK stores after lockdown restrictions were eased

In an update on Tuesday – just hours after the latest UK employment figures were revealed – Debenhams said: "We have successfully reopened 124 stores, post-lockdown, and these are currently trading ahead of management expectations.

"At the same time, the trading environment is clearly a long way from returning to normal and we have to ensure our store costs are aligned with realistic expectations.

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Those colleagues affected by redundancy have been informed and we are very grateful to them for their service and commitment to Debenhams.

Claire Walker
What businesses need to protect jobs

"Such difficult decisions are being taken by many retailers right now, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to give Debenhams every chance of a viable future."

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The company said a management restructuring process would account for some of the losses, including the scrapping of sales manager, visual merchandise manager and selling support manager roles.

Its announcement builds on a steady bleeding of high street jobs that has seen direct competitors including John Lewis and M&S also hit.

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