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Debenhams posts loss in most recent fiscal year

By Huw Hughes


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Image: Debenhams

Iconic British retailer Debenhams remained in the red in the fiscal year ended February 2022 following its acquisition by Boohoo Group in 2021.

According to new filings at Companies House, the department store chain made a pre-tax loss of 11.77 million pounds in the period, as it made revenue of 56.96 million pounds, of which 52.41 million pounds were from its home market of the UK.

Debenhams said it was impacted by a variety of factors during the period, including the pandemic, high returns rates, and inflation.

It said it expects the pandemic-related factors to continue into FY22, and will focus on optimising its operations by targeting increased sourcing from near-shore markets, operating with lower inventory through tighter stock management, and the initiation of a cost efficiency programme, among other things.

“By focusing on these areas, the company will be in a position of greater financial and operational strength, and well-positioned to rebound strongly as pandemic-related headwinds ease, allowing it to capitalise on its significantly expanded target addressable market,” the company said.

Debenhams was bought in January 2021 by fast fashion giant Boohoo Group for 55 million pounds after struggling for years to keep up with mounting competition from online rivals.

The deal included the department store chain’s brand and website, but not its physical estate, which was closed later in the year.

In June last year, Debenhams launched its first brand campaign under its new ownership, repositioning itself as a digital-first destination for fashion, beauty, and home products.

The company has since returned to physical retail with the opening of a flagship beauty destination in Boohoo’s home city, Manchester, at the Arndale shopping centre.

In January of this year, Debenhams appointed JD Sports veteran Daniel Finley as its new chief executive officer.