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Exclusive: Redundancies loom at Debenhams

Debenhams is making up to 90 roles redundant in its fashion and home team as it “simplifies its structure”, Drapers can reveal.

Drapers understands that several hundred employees in the sourcing division of Debenhams’ clothing and home team have been put into consultation, and between 80 and 90 roles will be made redundant.

In a statement, Debenhams said: “We announced our intention to restructure our organisation 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.”

Separately, Sarah Savva is leaving her role as director of external business at Debenhams later this year, Drapers understands.

Savva joined Debenhams in 1989 as finance controller and became head of supply chain in 2003, before taking up her current role with responsibility for concessions in January 2011. She is expected to leave the business before the end of the year.

She is believed to have resigned last month. 

Debenhams share price has toppled from 50.5p on 23 August 2017 to a low of 12.25p on 23 July. The retailer was forced to hit back at speculation that its relationship with beauty concession Blow, in which Debenhams has a 20% stake, has deteriorated. It follows a reduction in cover from credit insurers for suppliers last month.

Debenhams has issued three profit warnings so far in 2018. In June the retailer announced that like-for-like sales were down 1.7% for the 15 weeks to 16 June, and by 2.1% for the 41 weeks to the same date.

Several suppliers and industry experts have told Drapers the business needs to rein in discounting, concentrate on product and execute a clear strategy to get back on track.

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