Debenhams plans to shut up to 50 UK department stores - Emirates24|7

Debenhams plans to shut up to 50 UK department stores

Photo: AFP

British department store chain Debenhams on Thursday said it planned to shut about one third of its shops, many more than previously announced, signalling another blow to a retail sector faced with fierce online competition.

The announcement had been expected following recent reports, with suggestions that some 4,000 jobs could be at risk.

Debenhams said in a statement that it was "closing up to 50 stores over 3-5 years, compared with the 10 previously identified".

"It has been a tough year for retail in 2018," chief executive Sergio Bucher said in the statement.

"We are taking decisive steps to strengthen Debenhams in a market that remains volatile and challenging... At the same time, we are taking tough decisions on stores where financial performance is likely to deteriorate over time," he added.

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