Debenhams fires another 2,500 employees

A store of British retailer Debenhams
Photo: loocmill / Shutterstock.com

British department store chain Debenhams is cutting another 2,500 jobs, on top of the already more than 1,500 layoffs this spring. The insolvent retailer is investigating its options for the future.

 

Third round of layoffs

The coronaviurs crisis is causing a real massacre in the British high streets: major British retailers including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and WH Smith have already announced thousands of layoffs and Debenhams is now making the crater even bigger. The department store chain, which has been under judicial protection since April, is cutting 2,500 jobs.

 

"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", the company stated according to Reuters.

 

Acquisition ahead?

In May, the retailer already let hundreds of people go at its head office and just a month earlier, the discontinuation of the Irish operations cost another 1,400 people their jobs. Meanwhile, management says it is taking all the necessary steps to give Debenhams a chance at a viable future. For example, the department store chain has been investigating possible ways forward since last month.

 

These would include entering into a new joint venture with investors, selling the chain to a third party or a restart under the current owners. The most likely route is said to be a sale, in which a Chinese consortium is tipped as a takeover candidate. The company has until the end of September to reach a decision.

 

 

What does the future of the department stores look like, now that the once prestigious retail sector seems to be going under? Promising, at least if they go omni-channel, 'phygital' and exclusive, Erik Van Heuven and Stefan Van Rompaey analyse in there recently published book 'The Future of Department Stores'. Buy your copy in local bookstores or order via this link.