Debenhams in store manager job cuts shock

Reports are emerging that struggling department store chain Debenhams is to cut a swathe of management jobs at its 176 stores as part of a plan to cut £10 million from its cost base.


Its flagship locations on London’s Oxford Street and in the giant Westfield malls are believed to be among the stores that are shedding roles.

The company said in January that it would be looking for more cost savings after reporting weak Christmas trading and issuing a profit warning. The company had already said it will also close up to 10 stores as part of its recovery plan but no extra store closures are expected.

The move follows a raft of job cuts announced in UK retail this year with management bearing the brunt of the losses. Both Topshop and Sainsbury’s are also reported to be eliminating in-store management positions. The combination of higher management salaries compared to other store staff and the positive impact of technology make managers logical targets for businesses seeking to save money.

Debenhams informed staff of its plans on Wednesday and said that it would redeploy the 320 affected staff in other roles if possible.

The retailer is trying to reinvent itself as a destination for ‘social shopping’ and is focusing on what it sees as the areas that will drive faster growth. They include beauty and gifting, although trade at Christmas was disappointing and the chain was forced into big price cuts to shift inventory. 

It has also been reviewing its long-standing Designers at Debenhams offer and is cutting a number of names from the line-up in order to reinvigorate what was once a trailblazing concept.

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