// Debenhams confirms it will reopen an additional 38 stores in England today
// It follows the “successful reopening” of 50 stores on Monday, when lockdown ended for non-essential retail
// 20 other Debenhams stores will still not exit lockdown and will remain shut for good
Debenhams has announced it will reopen a further 38 stores in England today, following the “successful reopening” of an initial 50 stores on Monday when lockdown for non-essential retail came to an end.
The department store chain also confirmed that its remaining store estate in England will reopen “shortly thereafter”. (The locations of stores reopening listed at end of article)
Debenhams added that four stores have also reopened in Northern Ireland, and the retailer continues to await confirmation from Wales and Scotland as to when non-essential shops located in those nations can reopen.
- 3 more Debenhams stores will not reopen after lockdown
- Debenhams to reopen 3 stores in Northern Ireland before England
- Debenhams CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste steps aside for consulting role
Debenhams implemented a raft of measures to keep staff and customers safe, including installing 2000 perspex screens at tills, providing staff with visors and gloves and implementing queue management processes.
“We were pleased with the first day of reopening in England [on Monday], following the reopening of our Northern Irish stores last week,” Debenhams managing director Steven Cook said.
“Our customers have been complimentary about the safety precautions we have introduced.
“It is very early days of course, but we look forward to opening most of our remaining English stores on Wednesday.
“Longer-term, there will be plenty of issues to be resolved, notably around unsustainable rates bills, if the high street is going to get back onto a sustainable footing.”
The news comes shortly after it was revealed last week that three more Debenhams stores were added to its list of sites that would not reopen after lockdown, after failing to agree terms with shopping centre giant Intu.
The latest tranche of store closures means the total number of Debenhams stores that will not reopen after lockdown has been taken to 20.
The retailer did not indicate how many staff members have been affected, but it’s estimated that the job losses from these 20 stores are in the thousands.
Debenhams chief executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste also recently stepped down from his position for a long-trailed transition back to consultant now that Debenham is exiting lockdown.
As consultant, he would be advising chairman Mark Gifford as he steers Debenhams into the next phase of its turnaround.
In April, Debenhams fell into administration for the second time within a year as a protective measure against creditors demanding their money amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With Vansteenkiste stepping aside, it is understood that Debenhams’ day-to-day operations would be led by administrators from FRP Advisory along with existing the executive team, including Cook and chief financial officer Mike Hazell.
Debenhams’ reopening strategy also comes with plans to cut hundreds of jobs from its head office – which employs around 1000 people – across the merchandising, buying, design and HR departments.
The retailer did not confirm exactly how many head office positions would go, beyond saying in the “hundreds”.
Stores reopening today (June 17):
|Birmingham||Gloucester||Oxford Street||White Rose|
Stores already open in England & Northern Ireland:
|Bury St Edmunds||Ipswich||Rushmere||Worthing|
|Cambridge||Leeds||Scarborough||York Monks Cross|