Retail news round-up: Waitrose to close six stores, Dunelm warns price hikes and Debenhams announces new global partnership

Waitrose plans store closure

Waitrose is preparing to shut six stores and reorganise its management and store network, putting 600 jobs at risk, The Guardian reported.

The upmarket grocer said that 486 job roles are going into redundancies and five stores in Hertford, Staines, Leek, Huntingdon and Cardiff Queen Street may close.

While the Palmers Green store may be replaced with a new outlet in nearby Winchmore Hill.

The company is planning to remove the role of department manager in its 350 stores, affecting 180 jobs.

Waitrose said that the reduction in staff would be achieved through retirement, natural turnover and voluntary redundancies.

The job cuts and store closures come as Waitrose is no longer planning to develop seven new stores, resulting in a £25m profit write-off on the value of the land.

Dunelm warns price rise amid profit slump

Dunelm has warned shoppers that the prices of its products may increase 5% owing to the fall in profits, Sky News reported.

A spokesperson for Dunelm said, “Retail prices have been increased on a small number of products to negate the impact to margin; we expect to put through further price rises on a number of categories in the second half, allowing gross margin to remain broadly flat in the second half, compared to the same period last year.”

The price rises will affect 22,500 out of 30,000 product lines.

Debenhams collaborates with modest fashion brand

Debenhams has announced a new partnership with modest fashion brand Aab, Drapers reported.

In May, Aab will open a pop-up shop in Debenhams’ Oxford Street store in central London.

Further UK stores including Birmingham Bullring, Westfield Shepherd's Bush, Trafford Centre Manchester and Leicester will also stock the ranges.

The full collection of modest clothing will also be rolled out across 14 international stores including United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Debenhams International trading director Jeanette Whithear said: “We are delighted to introduce the Aab range to our international and select UK stores.

“Adding the high quality fashion range to our product mix enables us to offer collections that are highly relevant in both international markets and to our domestic customers and is a step closer to creating a product offer that caters for broader customer needs.”

UK high street reports decreased footfall

UK high street footfall decreased 1.4% in January compared with last year but has improved from the fall reported in December, according to Retail Traffic Index (RTI), Belfast Telegraph reported.

In January, the store footfall increased 1.2% in the first week of the new year compared with the same week last year.

Scotland and Northern Ireland reported 6.8% increase in footfall and shops in London and the South East reported a 1.7% increase in footfall.