Department store retailer Debenhams reported a 44% full-year profit drop today that risked testing the patience of its shareholders.

Chief executive Sergio Bucher has not long had his feet under the table, but those of us who are number-driven will be disappointed that the new boss is yet to have had a significant sway over the retailer’s bottom line.

As one Retail Week reader pointed out, “however elegant the strategy, said Winston Churchill, it’s good to occasionally look at the results”.

But there’s no denying Bucher has a plan up his sleeve, including a health and beauty drive, in-store gyms and a portfolio shake-up.

Conversely, upmarket department store Selfridges posted a full-year profit jump as its own investment strategy started to pay off.

The retailer said its £300m investment plan to transform its London flagship and ramp up its digital capabilities had “helped fuel” its 18% profit uplift.

Debenhams’ Bucher will be hoping to taste the fruits of his labour before the City’s patience wears thin.

Quote of the day

“We are making good progress with implementing our new strategy, Debenhams Redesigned, and are encouraged by the results from our initial trials, as well as the number of exciting new partners who want to work with us. There is a lot to do but I am delighted with the enthusiasm and flair shown by my colleagues as we embark on this journey.”

Debenhams chief executive commenting on today’s full-year results

Today in numbers


The amount by which hours worked in the retail sector fell in the third quarter, according to the BRC.


Sales at Selfridges in the year to January 28.

Tomorrow’s agenda

Look out for the latest episode of The Retail Week. 

Emily Hardy, senior reporter