April 20, 2017 / 6:25 AM / 8 months ago

UK's Debenhams steps up spending in bid to return to growth

LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - Debenhams, Britain’s second-largest department store group, on Thursday detailed a plan to return to growth by becoming more of a destination for shoppers that is differentiated from rivals and has an enhanced digital offer.

Following a strategic review by new Chief Executive Sergio Bucher the group also plans to drive efficiency by simplifying the business.

Debenhams said additional investment was required to upgrade its mobile systems, supply chain and its store estate.

It said annual capital expenditure would be 150 million pounds ($192.2 million) between full year 2018 and full year 2020 versus current annual capex of 130 million pounds.

It said total exceptional costs over 2017-2020 would be 50 million pounds of which approximately half would be cash.

Debenhams, which is second to No.1 department store chain John Lewis by revenue, also said it made a pretax profit of 87.8 million pounds ($112.5 million) in the 26 weeks to March 4, down 6.4 percent from 93.8 million pounds in the previous corresponding period. ($1 = 0.7806 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)

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