Debenhams – founded in 1778 – now ‘Top 250 UK Company’

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Initially launched as a draper’s store in London, Debenhams has undergone huge changes since its foundation in 1778 and is now ranked as one of the top 250 publically listed companies in the UK.

Operating as a department store, Debenhams are known for their multi-story locations in prime city-centre locations, and sell products including home ware, appliance, toys and cosmetics. One of their key unique selling points over the course of the past few decades has been their ‘Designers at Debenhams’ range – which includes a specially created products the likes of Jasper Conran (under his ‘J’ brand), John Rocha, Matthew Williamson and Julien Macdonald.

Debenhams billboard advertisement in Altrincham

Although some experts predicted that the rise of ecommerce through websites such as Amazon may signal the death of the department store, the steady performance of Debenhams (drawing in worldwide revenues of around £2 billion annually) and the continuing growth of rivals John Lewis have proved that there is still strong consumer demand for the format.

Having plateaued in the UK market for a number of years, Debenhams – with stores currently in 28 countries – have announced that they plan to increase their market share in the developing world. This is a policy that Marks and Spencer have already successfully employed by opening its first stores in both India and China within the last 15 years.