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Gloucestershire Business News

Leading department store chain set to close branches

Debenhams, the department store group, could close up to ten of its 176 UK outlets over the next five years.

Debenhams, which has a major store in Kings Square, Gloucester, has not announced which branches may be affected.

It says the review is part of a new strategy aimed at boosting its appeal as a "destination" shop and improving its online offering.

Debenhams is also looking at the closure of a central distribution warehouse and about 10 smaller warehouses. Some 2,000 staff will be moved from back-of-house activities to customer facing roles.

The company's half-year pre-tax profits were down 6.4 per cent to £87.8million.

Sergio Bucher, Chief Executive of Debenhams, said: "Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too. Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use.

We will be a destination for "Social Shopping" with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers.

"If we deliver differentiated and distinctive brands, services and experiences both online and in stores, our customers will visit us more frequently and, having simplified our operations to make us more efficient, we will be able to serve them better and make better use of our resources."

He said the company was working hard to implement the new strategy.

"This will set Debenhams on course for a successful and profitable future," he said.

Punchline understands there is no suggestion that Debenhams, Gloucester is affected by the review. The store is a key part of the city's shopping experience and brings in visitors from far and wide.

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