British department store chain Debenhams is implementing an intense recovery plan with some vigour: fifty stores will have to close, thirty others will be downsized.
Reducing size to half
At least thirty Debenhams stores will have to be downsized, as chairman Terry Duddy points out the ideal size of a department store is around 100,000 square foot (9,000 sqm) - albeit depending on the size of the city. Currently, half of the chain's stores are more than double that size, though.
The downsizing comes in addition to the already planned wave of fifty store closings. Duddy is also in talks to find the appropriate space for each location for the 100 remaining outlets.
From five to three floors
In some cases, for example, Debenhams really only needs three floors instead of five, as the CEO explained in British paper The Mail on Sunday. The excess space can be used for different purposes, such as movie theatres.
Today, Debenhams has 165 department stores in Britain, employing 25,000 people. The department store chain has been struggling with receding turnover figures for over a decade. Meanwhile, the debt load has mounted up to 1.1 billion pounds. An attempted acquisition by Sports Direct owner CEO Mike Ashley was recently cancelled. As a result, the company is now in the hands of its creditors.