Debenhams has announced a new strategy focussed on making its stores destinations, including a ‘step-changed food drink offer’ both in-house and with partners.

Debenhams Redesigned will the group focus on “social shopping”, greater digital interaction wiyth customers and changing the way it creates and manages brands,

It will review up to 10 stores for closure over five years and invest in stores in major shopping destinations where it sees the greatest opportunity to earn a good return and we will refresh and remerchandise the rest.

The group said: “We will create exciting store environments where customers can spend time with family and friends - exploring our products and services; enjoying VIP access to in-store events; and sampling a step-changed food and drink offer, both our own and with new and exciting partners.”

The announcement came as the retailer updated on its first half to 4 March, in which group gross transaction value was up 2.9% to £1.7bn, with UK like-for-like sales up 0.5%.

During the period the group added 48 new third party casual dining offers.

Sergio Bucher, chief executive of Debenhams, said: “Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too. Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use. We will be a destination for “Social Shopping” with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers. If we deliver differentiated and distinctive brands, services and experiences both online and in stores, our customers will visit us more frequently and, having simplified our operations to make us more efficient, we will be able to serve them better and make better use of our resources.

“I’d like to thank the executive team and all our colleagues, who made sure that we were able to deliver a great experience for our customers over the peak trading period, and who are now working hard to implement our new strategy. This will set Debenhams on course for a successful and profitable future.”

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