Debenhams

From Academic Kids

Debenhams is a chain of department stores based in the United Kingdom. Debenhams Retail Plc is part of the Debenhams Group of Companies. The company started as a retail outlet in 1813 on Wigmore St in London and grew to acquire other stores in town and cities in the UK such as Pauldin's in Manchester and Brown's of Chester. Most stores retained their former identities until a unified corporate image was rolled out across the stores.

Debenhams was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1928 and continued to expand. In 1985 the company was acquired by the Burton Group. At this point the company owned 65 stores. Debenhams demerged in 1998 and was once again listed as a separate company.

The company has expanded rapidly through the 1990s and now has a total of 102 stores throughout the UK and Ireland with a further one store that recently opened at the MetroCentre in Gateshead.

Debenhams stores are departmentalised as follows:

  • Health and Beauty
  • Womenswear
  • Menswear
  • Fashion Accessories
  • Young Fashion
  • Home
  • Childrenswear
  • Media & Entertainment (M&E depts. in all stores closing early 2004)
  • Food Services
  • Customer Accounts

Debenhams stores vary greatly in size from the flagship store in Oxford Street, London to the smaller stores such as Bangor. Some such stores do not have a full range of departments.

A major source of business is concessions. These are 'shop-in-shops' which can be found in most Debenhams stores such as Young Fashion companies 'Oasis' and Ladieswear outlet 'Evans'.

The company's innovation has proved successful by introducing branding into its mens and ladieswear lines. The 'Designers at Debenhams' include Jasper Conran, John Richmond and John Rocha.

In 2002 the 'Nectar' loyalty card was introduced with Debenhams as a major sponsor. This card now allows customers to collect loyalty points from a range of retailers such as Sainsbury's, BP, Barclaycard, Vodafone and Ford amongst others.

Despite some criticism, the Debenhams Account Card is still a major source of revenue for the company ensuring customer loyalty and targeted mailings.

The company was taken over by a private consortium later in 2003 and their exact future is uncertain in terms of future development.

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