Struggling department store Debenhams is planning to cut up to 2,500 jobs, just months after falling into administration.
Debenhams confirmed in a statement on Tuesday it was planning redundancies in response to slow sales at its stores. A spokesperson confirmed the 2,500 number, which was first reported by The Sun.
The cuts will affect about 17% of Debenhams’ 14,500 staff across the UK.
“We have successfully reopened 124 stores, post-lockdown, and these are currently trading ahead of management expectations,” a spokesperson for Debenhams said. “At the same time, the trading environment is clearly a long way from returning to normal and we have to ensure our store costs are aligned with realistic expectations.
“Those colleagues affected by redundancy have been informed and we are very grateful to them for their service and commitment to Debenhams.
“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.”
The job cuts are understood to impact Debenhams’ stores and warehouses.
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It comes just months after the beleaguered department store collapsed into administration for the second time in 12 months. Debenhams was placed into administration — a form of bankruptcy — in April but was immediately bought out by a consortium of its lenders.
Debenhams joins the swelling ranks of retailers who have cut jobs in recent months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Household names including Ted Baker, John Lewis, Boots, and Marks & Spencer have all announced thousands of job cuts between them.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said earlier on Tuesday that many retailers in fashion and beauty were “hanging by only a thread in the face of rising costs and lower sales.”
Official stats published on Tuesday show 730,000 jobs have been lost across the UK economy since the pandemic struck in March.