Thursday 15 November 2018 5:08 pm

Debenhams supplier issue could be 'nail in the coffin' for department store

Supplier problems that have reportedly hit Debenhams could be the “nail in the coffin” for the embattled department store, according to industry experts.

A number of high street suppliers stopped working with the 240-year-old store after credit insurers reduced their protection, trade magazine Drapers reported.

“They really need to implement strategic change in the business, and they need to do it quickly,” said Retail Economics chief executive Richard Lim.

The supplier issue, which saw shares take the biggest single day hit in a decade on Wednesday, brought down high street stalwart Woolworths in 2008.

“That can be the nail in the coffin,” Lim added.

A spokesperson for Debenhams said: “Many suppliers don't use credit insurance. Those that have used it historically are well aware of the current situation and work with retailers to manage things accordingly.

“Debenhams is well stocked for Christmas.”

Last month the high street retailer reported a £491.5m loss – the biggest in its 240-year history – and unveiled plans to close up to 50 stores as part of a turnaround strategy.