Monday 17 December 2018

Debenhams strikes deal with French homewares brand amid turnaround

The Maison du Monde deal comes as Debenhams is also reportedly considering renting space in its Oxford Street store to hot-desking firm WeWork.

Debenhams stock
Debenhams stock

By Holly Williams, Press Association Deputy City Editor

Department store chain Debenhams has struck a concession deal with French interiors brand Maisons du Monde in the embattled retailer’s latest move to revamp trading.

The group said it would include Maisons du Monde shop-in-shop concessions in three of its stores this spring – in Debenhams Westfield (London), Birmingham and Manchester.

It comes just a day after reports that Debenhams is considering renting out space in its flagship Oxford Street store to hot-desking firm WeWork as it looks to fill excess space in its larger shops.

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Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher is leading a turnaround at the chain (Debenhams/PA)

It is understood that talks are at an early stage with the flexible-office provider.

Debenhams boss Sergio Bucher is leading efforts to drive a turnaround to boost falling sales, last year announcing plans to close 10 shops, trim back others and also arrange partnership deals with firms.

It also last month revealed aims to axe 320 store management roles under a cost-cutting drive.

The group saw its share price slump as much as 24% in January after warning over profits and slashing prices to bolster lacklustre festive sales.

It suffered a 2.6% drop in UK like-for-like sales in the 17 weeks to December 30, with overall group sales down 1.8%.

But Debenhams is hoping to reboot its trading with plans to bring in more concessions partners, with the Maison du Monde deal also boosting its homewares and furniture offering.

It marks a first step on to the UK high street for Maison du Monde, which was founded in France in 1996.

Mr Bucher said: “We are delighted that Maisons du Monde has chosen to work with us to launch physically into the UK.

“We believe that its fresh and differentiated ranges will reinforce Debenhams’ position as a major player in the UK homeware and furniture market.”

The agreement will see Maison du Monde offer decorative items and small furnishings in Debenhams stores.

Debenhams has come under pressure from its biggest shareholder – Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct – following its recent trading and stock market woes, with the investor increasing its stake last week to 29.7%.

This is just below the level that triggers a bid for the company.

It has been a troubled start to 2018 for the retail sector, with the collapse of Toys R Us and Maplin, while House of Fraser’s Chinese owner revealed on Tuesday that it was selling a controlling stake in the chain.

Press Association

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