Debenhams spends £10m on staff redundancy plan
British retailer Debenhams has spent more than £10m (€11.3m) on its redundancy programme in Ireland in the past few months after it laid off the equivalent of 170 full-time staff at its stores here.
The figure was disclosed in the company's interim results, released yesterday, which showed an 18.6pc rise in pre-tax, pre-exceptional profits to £123.6m, beating analyst estimates.
Redundancy costs in Ireland accounted for the lion's share of the group's overall £6m in net exceptional costs during the six months to the end of February.
The company announced in January that it was cutting numbers of employees in Ireland due to the deterioration in the economic environment. Debenhams operates 11 outlets here and employs over 2,000 people.
Shares in Debenhams, which is the UK's second biggest department store operator, fell as much as 4pc in London trading yesterday as the market digested the six-month results, which had been flagged in a trading statement last month.
Debenhams's like-for-like sales rose 0.3pc, while the gross transaction value at its outlets, excluding the recently acquired Magasin du Nord chain in Denmark, rose 1.7pc to nearly £1.19bn. The group's gross margin, also excluding those Danish stores, climbed 1.4pc.
The group said that trading conditions across the retail sector were broadly stable during the six-month period, and that while sales had been hit in January due to bad weather, they had recovered in the final weeks of the first-half.
Rob Templeman, Debenhams chief executive, said he expected the trading environment to be "broadly neutral" in the current half.