Debenhams to cut additional 2,500 jobs

In the latest blow to the high street, Debenhams has announced plans to axe 2,500 jobs in its department stores and warehouses.

In addition to the 4,000 roles the retailer has cut since May, Debenhams will be cutting up to a third of its total workforce in an attempt to survive the pandemic.

The department store has been hit hard amid the Coronavirus and since the lockdown has announced the permanent closure of 20 stores.

“The trading environment is clearly a long way from returning to normal and we have to ensure our store costs are aligned with realistic expectations,” said the group in a statement.

“We have to ensure our store costs are aligned with realistic expectations,” it added.

“Such difficult decisions are being taken by many retailers right now, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to give Debenhams every chance of a viable future,” said a spokesperson.

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

Sofie Willmott, a retail analyst at consultancy firm GlobalData, said about the struggling department store: “The department store chain was already in trouble before the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the sharp shift in consumer shopping habits will only speed up inevitable changes in the UK market. Weaker retailers without a unique selling point will be weeded out, with many unable to survive the year.”

Department stores are struggling to survive the pandemic, with House of Fraser and John Lewis also announcing wide-scale redundancy plans and closing stores.

According to new figures from the Office for National Statistics, unemployment in the UK has reached an 11-year high. 

Despite the furlough scheme still in place, many high street retailers including Boots, Marks and Spencer, and  WH Smith have announced job cuts.