Debenhams (DBHSY) became the latest retailing stalwart to suffer from changing habits after Britain's second-biggest department store said it would close 10 locations and revamp several others as it scrambles to improve shopping experiences amid a surge in online spending.
In a move that mirrors efforts by its American cousin, Macy's (M) , which announced 100 store closures last year, Debenhams said it would begin consultations on the shuttering of one central distribution center and around 10 smaller regional warehouses alongside the store closures. It will also look to exit some brands and non-core international markets.
"Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too," CEO Sergio Bucher said in a statement. "Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use. We will be a destination for "Social Shopping" with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers."
In fact, Debenhams has already started to offer more services like blow dry, manicure and eyebrow grooming bars.
Debenhams shares fell nearly 6% by mid-day in London to change hands at 52.04 pence each, valuing the group at just under £640 million ($820 million).
The announcement came alongside its results for the 26 weeks to March 4, which saw same-store sales up just 0.5% in its core U.K. market. Pre-tax profit fell 6.4% to £87.5 million compared with last year. Group Ebitda decline by 2.5% to £149.1 million for the group and down 6% in the U.K.
Bucher, a former Amazon (AMZN) executive, was brought on in December to oversee the review after former CEO Michael Sharp was said to be forced out by disgruntled shareholders.
Debenhams faces other issues including long store leases, rising tax rates and an increase in the minimum wage.
The move also comes at a time of unease in the U.K. as it prepares to leave the European Union and also now faces a snap general election on June 8. Inflation in March was 2.3% unchanged from February, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Inflation is expected to hit 3% this year.
This pressure on consumers' wallets could be spell disaster for U.K. retailers. Three clothing retailers have already fallen into administration this year, while other department stores are rejigging their portfolios.
Marks & Spencer (MAKSY) , the clothing-to-homewares-to-food department, on Thursday said it would open 34 new Food stores, and two new Clothing, Home and Food stores. It would also consult on the closure of six stores.
The move comes after full review of its U.K. store portfolio in November, which resulted in a clear move towards food. "The plans will improve the M&S store estate to better meet customer needs and include opening 200 new Food-only stores and selling Clothing and Home from 60 fewer locations," the company said. "The result will be more, conveniently located M&S stores but fewer, more inspirational Clothing and Home stores that offer customers better ranging and availability."
M&S shares were marked 1.3% lower at 11:30 BST to change hands at 353.40 pence.