Debenhams store

LONDON — Debenhams is reportedly looking to cut up to 200 head office jobs within its fashion and home sectors, as the British high-street continues to struggle.

Following the sale of bankrupt House of Fraser to retail tycoon Mike Ashley, competitor Debenhams is said to be consulting with up to 200 merchandisers, buyers and other members of its home and fashion teams, with plans to cut at least 90 jobs.

When reached for comment, a Debenhams spokesperson did not confirm the job cuts taking place but highlighted that the company is continuing with its plans to restructure the organization, which aims to cut costs and modernize its strategy.

“We announced our intention to restructure our organization around three business units: beauty and beauty services, fashion and home and food and events earlier this year. Our work to create a simplified and consistent structure across these units, reducing complexity and driving efficiency in order to deliver our Debenhams Redesigned strategy, is continuing,” said the statement.

The cuts occur after the British retailer issued three profit warnings this year. During its latest trading update in June, the company said it had to “reassess” its expectations for the balance of the year, due to the tough retail climate fuelled by “increased competitor discounting and weakness in key markets.”

Pre-tax profit is expected to be in the range of 35 million pounds to 40 million pounds, while current market consensus is 50.3 million pounds.

Earlier this year, the company also bid farewell to its chief financial officer Matt Smith.

According to British media reports, rumors are also circling that new House of Fraser owner Ashley, who owns less than 30 percent of Debenhams’ capital could be planning to launch an official takeover bid and merge the two fledgling department stores.

In addition to cost-cutting, the retailer has been spearheading a number of initiatives to navigate this difficult landscape. The company has been freshening up its fashion offer by forging partnerships with hot London labels such as Richard Quinn and Preen, growing its digital sales and ramping up the in-store experience by introducing more digital features on the shop floor, as well as a new service model.

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