UP to a quarter of managers in Debenhams stores such as Bournemouth’s are facing the axe as part of a major cost-cutting drive.

The department store chain said it would make significant savings by reducing the “complexity” of management positions and introducing changes to working practices.

The move would cut 320 management roles across the organisation, with a new structure expected to be in place by the end of next month.

Last month, the company issued a profit warning after slashing prices to bolster lacklustre festive sales.

It also announced plans to ramp up cost savings, with around another £10million earmarked for this financial year and £20m extra annually under a reorganisation led by chief executive Sergio Bucher.

The retailer said: "As part of the implementation of the Debenhams Redesigned strategy, a review of our store structure has been undertaken.

"The review has identified significant cost savings by reducing the complexity of management roles in stores as well as processes to optimise and standardise ways of working.

"The effect is that potentially 320 positions are at risk of redundancy – approximately 25 per cent of store management roles.

"We are currently consulting with individuals affected and will seek redeployment opportunities where possible."

Debenhams revealed in January that UK like-for-like sales had tumbled 2.6 per cent in the 17 weeks to December 30, with overall group sales down 1.8 per cent.