This week, one of the UK’s most iconic department store chains announced its annual results. We thought it might be ugly and so it turned out; so if you are of a nervous disposition, look away now. Record pre-tax loss of £495m (including an £80m write-down of now redundant IT systems), like for likes down 2.3%, dividend suspended and – wait for it – 50 stores (equivalent to a 3rd of the estate) to shutter over the next 3-5 years. Yes, we knew that Debenhams was finding life in 2018 retail tough but perhaps not quite this tough. However, CEO Sergio Boucher tried to remain upbeat: “It has been a tough year for retail in 2018 and our performance reflects that. We are taking decisive steps to strengthen Debenhams in a market that remains volatile and challenging” Stripped of much of his turnaround budget, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to imagine more than a backward glance at Amazon, his previous berth. For a business founded in 1813, the harsh reality of today’s cutthroat retail environment is biting and biting hard. Disappointingly that turnaround strategy now appears to be founded on cost-cutting and placing almost the entire house on beauty. Read more at Forbes.