Debenhams to close up to 50 stores putting thousands of jobs at risk

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Debenhams is to close up to 50 stores, putting around 4,000 jobs at risk.

The group said the closures will take place over a three to five year period and the announcement comes alongside a dire set of financial figures.

Debenhams swung to a £491.5 million loss in the year to September 1 after being stung by exceptional write-downs of £512.4 million, primarily relating to store and lease provisions, IT costs and impairment charges.

The loss compares to a profit of £59 million last year.

Boss Sergio Bucher said: “It has been a tough year for retail in 2018 and our performance reflects that. We are taking decisive steps to strengthen Debenhams in a market that remains volatile and challenging.

“We are taking tough decisions on stores where financial performance is likely to deteriorate over time.

“Debenhams remains a strong and trusted brand with 19 million customers shopping with us over the past year. With a strengthened balance sheet, we will focus investment behind our strategic priorities and ensure that Debenhams has a sustainable and profitable future.”