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Debenhams ‘looks to close a third of stores’

Debenhams could close up to a third of its 166 UK stores as the chain looks to cut costs.

It has already said 10 branches will close but a review instigated by Rachel Osborne, Debenhams finance director, who joined last month, is reported to have identified a string of stores it could close.

‘After our people, property is our biggest cost. And, right now, it is our biggest challenge. While almost all of our 166 UK stores are profitable today, extrapolate current market trends three to five years forward and that picture is going to change,’ Sergio Bucher, Debenhams chief executive said in a letter to Estates Gazette last month.

The chain is due to report its full-year results on Thursday. Reports have also suggested it will halt its dividend, saving £30m, and look to cut capital expenditure by £70m. Its share price has fallen by two-thirds this year.