Debenhams to cut hundreds of head office jobs amid reopening plans

Debenhams to cut hundreds of head office jobs amid reopening plans

Debenhams was already struggling before the lockdown, having fallen into administration on April 9 in a protective measure against creditors demanding their money. (Image: PA Wires)

Debenhams is set to cut hundreds of head office jobs as it plans to reopen following lockdown, the department store has confirmed.

The retailer, which is in administration for the second time within a year, plans to open doors again to customers from June 15 with 90 stores initially, followed by another 30 over summer.

However, bosses plan to reopen with a slimmed down head office – which employs around 3000 people – as staff leave from mechandising, buying, design and HR departments, according to initial reports by Reuters.

Debenhams was already struggling before the lockdown, having fallen into administration on April 9 in a protective measure against creditors demanding their money.

Since the coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary closure of all non-essential retailers, the department store has announced it would permanent shut down 16 of them, leading to thousands of job losses.

“In the context of a retail industry undergoing profound change, the management team is working on the future shape of the group, with a view to seeking an exit from administration as a going concern,” a Debenhams spokesman said.

“With a leaner and more flexible operating model, Debenhams will have the ability to adapt to what are likely to be fundamental shifts in the future trading environment.”

The retailer did not confirm exactly how many positions would go, beyond saying in the “hundreds”.

Bosses are expected to learn the lessons from Debenhams’ Danish stores, trading as Magasin du Nord, which has already reopened following easing of lockdown restrictions in the country.

Protective equipment for colleagues, guidelines to manage changing rooms, queuing systems, shorter hours and fewer services are all understood to be under consideration.

By Elias Jahshan -May 28, 2020

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