Debenhams new boss Sergio Bucher was under the spotlight today as he unveiled his long-awaited strategy for the department store.

The five-year plan, entitled Debenhams Redesigned, sets out his stall of making the business the market leader in ‘social shopping’. This is about making shopping a fun leisure activity to be shared with friends and family both in real life and via social media.

Mobile also featured heavily in Bucher’s plan and he aims to “unify” the entire business around the device.

The former Amazon exec is also focused on getting the basics right and is overhauling the operational side of the business. This means reviewing the future of 10 UK stores, and closing of one of its distribution centres and around 10 smaller regional warehouses.

Another retailer rejigging its store estate is Marks & Spencer. Today it revealed it will open 36 new stores over the next six months – 34 of which are food-only stores – but has proposed closing six existing stores.

These are the first details on M&S’ five-year UK store programme – unveiled in November – that involves opening 200 new food-only stores and selling clothing and home from 60 fewer locations.

Elsewhere, the BRC has urged the next Government to make tariff-free trade a top Brexit negotiating priority.

Quote of the day

”For a fair deal for consumers it’s critical that the Government secures continued tariff-free trade with the EU to avoid upward pressure on food prices.”

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson

Today in numbers


The amount online marketplaces cost the UK last year due to VAT fraud or error, according to the National Audit Office


The pre-tax profits fall reported by Debenhams in its first half results.

Gemma Goldfingle, features editor