Debenhams is expected to close its fledgling German operation after its fashions failed to strike a chord with the locals. The Observer

Debenhams entered the German market earlier this year, opening trial franchise stores in a handful of locations including Berlin. Their ranges have been poorly received, say sources, and the stores are likely to shut at the end of August.

Last week it emerged that Debenhams was looking for a European partner and had made contact with prospective buyers, including Germany's KarstadtQuelle and Galeries Lafayette in France.

The store closures are a fresh blow for Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman, who is under pressure to improve the group's performance after issuing a string of profit warnings.