The Famous Five – How To Survive Today’s Retail Storm

by MR Magazine Staff

This week, one of the UK’s most iconic department store chains announced its annual results. We thought it might be ugly and so it turned out; so if you are of a nervous disposition, look away now. Record pre-tax loss of £495m (including an £80m write-down of now redundant IT systems), like for likes down 2.3%, dividend suspended and – wait for it – 50 stores (equivalent to a 3rd of the estate) to shutter over the next 3-5 years. Yes, we knew that Debenhams was finding life in 2018 retail tough but perhaps not quite this tough. However, CEO Sergio Boucher tried to remain upbeat: “It has been a tough year for retail in 2018 and our performance reflects that. We are taking decisive steps to strengthen Debenhams in a market that remains volatile and challenging” Stripped of much of his turnaround budget, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to imagine more than a backward glance at Amazon, his previous berth. For a business founded in 1813, the harsh reality of today’s cutthroat retail environment is biting and biting hard. Disappointingly that turnaround strategy now appears to be founded on cost-cutting and placing almost the entire house on beauty. Read more at Forbes.