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Future of Work

Struggling department store group Debenhams says it will cut 2,500 more jobs as it struggles to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

This is on top of the 4,000 announced since May, meaning the retailer will have cut a third of its workforce. The cuts will be mainly across its UK stores and distribution centre, but it said no new shops were slated to shut.

Debenhams said the current trading environment for retailers was still “a long way from returning to normal”.

In April, the firm fell into administration for the second time in a year as coronavirus heaped pressure on the business.

Earlier this year, it said 20 of its stores would remain permanently closed because of the impact of the pandemic.

Debenhams said on Tuesday: “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.

“We have to ensure our store costs are aligned with realistic expectations,” it added.

The chain said that people affected had been informed and thanked them for their “service and commitment”.

“We have successfully reopened 124 stores post-lockdown, and these are currently trading ahead of management expectations,” it said.

Debenhams could remain in administration for the rest of this year, as lenders wait to see how it performs post-lockdown and in the crucial Christmas trading period.

Like many of its competitors, the retailer was already ailing before the pandemic forced it to suspend trading at its department stores.

The news of the latest job cuts came after the British Retail Consortium said the number of visits to High Streets was still down significantly as people shopped online instead.

The BRC said some retailers were continuing to struggle because of the coronavirus crisis. It made a fresh call for government help with rents.

Other High Street names have also announced job losses as they fight to stay afloat.

Last week, WH Smith said it was cutting 1,500 jobs – 11% of its workforce – after the lockdown caused sales to plummet.

DW Sports, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Boots and Selfridges are among other big names to announce redundancies.

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