Debenhams cuts hundreds of head office staff

Mark Shapland

Department store Debenhams has cut “hundreds” of head office jobs as it deals with the fallout from coronavirus and tries to restructure the business.

According to news agency Reuters, around 160 jobs have gone from the merchandising department and a similar number from buying. Other jobs in design and human resources have also been cut.

Last month Debenhams went into administration for the second time in a year.

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 chain's 142 stores remain closed under the government’s Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions and most of its 22,000 employees are furloughed, though it is still fulfilling online orders.

Debenhams’ lenders, led by US hedge Silver Point Capital, took control of the business last April after a protracted battle with Sports Direct owner and leading shareholder Mike Ashley.

Under the turnaround programme it is looking to shut a total of around 50 branches.