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  • Debenhams store faces uncertain future as company bosses review operations

    Ollie Cowan

    THE FUTURE of the Debenhams store in Southport is uncertain after the company announced a complete overhaul of its operations with the closure of ten stores.

    It is not yet known if the Lord Street site will be one of the ten to face the axe,

    Bosses at the department store group last week announced a ‘turnaround strategy’ which they say is aimed at boosting its appeal as a ‘destination’ shop and improving its online offering.

    In the strategy, ten stores will be ‘reviewed’ over the next five years to see how economically viable they are.

    Southport’s store has, in line with national trends, experienced a decline in sales and footfall over the last few years.

    Chief executive Sergio Bucher, who joined the company last October, said customers were changing the way they shop and Debenhams was also changing.

    “We will be a destination for social shopping, with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers.”

    David Gill - Usdaw National Officer responded to the news: “Usdaw is the trade union for Debenhams' workers and our members are contacting us to express concern about the uncertainty they now face. So we are seeking an urgent meeting with the company to see the details of their proposals.

    “Our priorities are to save jobs and help staff stay employed in the business. We are providing our members with the support, advice and representation they require at this difficult time.”

    There was, however, some relief elsewhere in the town when it was confirmed Marks & Spencers on Chapel Street was not among a list of M&S stores included on a list of closures.

    The town centre store enjoys heavy footfall through its connections to Tulketh Street and Southport Railway station and it is unlikely to be further considered for closure.

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