Debenhams announces new stores despite profit drop
The chief executive of Debenhams has confirmed that the group is planning to open in 70 more locations across the country, guardian.co.uk reports.
Britain’s second-biggest department store chain may have posted it’s first fall in profits since 2008 – a drop of 5.4 per cent for the half year. That hasn’t stopped the group having ambitious plans to extend its UK property portfolio, which CEO Michael Sharp described as “immature”. Seventeen stores are already due to open by 2017, while others are receiving a makeover.
Makeover for the chain’s flagship store in Oxford Street
The almost 200-year old brand currently operates from 155 sites, but Sharp said that a further 70 high streets and shopping centres had been identified in which Debenhams might open new stores. These include Kent mall, Bluewater and Cribbs Causeway in Bristol.
Exterior alterations to the 370,000-square-foot store
The £25 million project will include the first external alterations to the store in 41 years, transforming the “boring” concrete shell with exterior cladding “of small metal plates which move in the wind and reflect light”, Mr Sharp told standard.co.uk.
“We are making Oxford Street the standard for Debenhams across the UK. Many watchers judge us on that store so it must be the best.”
The existing canopy will also be removed, bdaily.co.uk writes, increasing the size of the storefront windows and head office staff are to relocate out of the fifth floor, which will be converted into additional shopping space.
Improvements to the 370,000-square-foot store should be complete by November 2013 and are on time, according to Sharp. The store is remaining open during the works.
Author: Elizabeth Smythe Date Written: 6 May 2013