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Debenhams New Boss Planning Major Overhaul



UK retailer Debenhams is showing signs that the company has learned from other retailers troubles.
When you’re a struggling retailer in today’s day and age, there’s absolutely no room for complacency. Struggles can snowball in a hurry, and you could be looking at an outright crisis in no time. That very scenario has played out for some retailers in recent years, and those that are still standing have plenty of valuable case studies to pore through. As Telegraph shares, UK retailer Debenhams is showing signs that the company has learned from other retailers troubles. 

Debenhams

A new boss is at the helm for Debenhams, and it sounds like he has some exciting plans up his sleeve. Sergio Bucher, a former vice president with Amazon Fashion Europe, took the reins last October, and plans are already in the works to overhaul the chain’s 165 locations. Among the items at the forefront of Bucher’s plans are a careful review of in-house brands, as well as increased investments in in-store amenities such as restaurants and beauty services.     

“The next generation is behaving differently, spending differently and interacting differently. To them it is experience, not stuff that matters,” remarked Debenhams chairman Ian Cheshire earlier this month at the World Retail Congress in Dubai. 

Cheshire is spot on with his assessment, and analysts note that Debenhams is positioned to make some changes now that Bucher is at the helm. 

“Sergio Bucher has not taken the chief executive job to just tinker with the current strategy, in our view. With over a decade of profit erosion, something more radical is needed given the structural challenges Debenhams faces in the mid-market,” said Investec analyst Kate Calvert.

One of the in-house lines that could be on the chopping block is the company’s Designers by Debenhams brands, which includes J by Jasper Conran, Star by Julien McDonald and RJR by John Rocha. Quite simply, the scuttlebutt is that the brands are not resonating with today’s consumers the way they did in year’s past. 

Beyond revamping lines and changing up the displays, Debenhams is also looking towards implementing a destination-type strategy. Additional on-site offerings can make shoppers linger around a little longer, and the retailer has its sights set on enhancing its beauty offerings, which may include exclusive online beauty launches.  

On the restaurant front, some Patisserie Valerie, Costa and Joe and The Juice cafes have already been added to stores, and we can assume that’s just the first wave. It sounds like things are looking up for Debenhams, and it will be fascinating to watch the iconic retailer strive to achieve its goals.

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