Debenhams to permanently close 6 stores, affecting 320 jobs

Debenhams FRP Advisory
Along with its 370,000sq ft London flagship, other branches that are shutting include Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester
// Debenhams has updated plans on winding down its business
// The retailer said six stores will not reopen. affecting 320 staff
// Debenhams’ liquidation in December put 12,000 jobs at risk

Debenhams has confirmed plans to close six stores permanently including its London flagship store on Oxford Street.

The move will affect 320 members of staff and will bring Debenhams’ store estate down to 118, compared to the 124 it had before it began liquidation proceedings in December.

The department store chain said its administrator FRP Advisory was continuing to engage with a number of third parties regarding the sale of all or parts of the business.


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Following the liquidation announcement on December 1, Debenhams said it would continue to plan for the ongoing wind-down of the business.

It means all of Debenhams’ 124 stores will eventually disappear from the high street, although an exact date for when each remaining branch will close has yet to be confirmed.

JD Sports has been in pole position in a sale process initiated by Debenhams’ administrators following its initial insolvency announcement in April.

It is understood that the collapse of rescue talks were partly linked to the administration of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which is the biggest operator of concessions in Debenhams stores.

Before the liquidation, Debenhams had 12,000 staff.

The retailer said the renewed national lockdown last week meant that a number of stores where it was unable to agree lease extensions on will be permanently closed.

Meanwhile, Debenhams has been selling off its stock online before shutting stores through an 80 per cent off closing down sale.

Along with its 370,000sq ft London Oxford Street flagship, other branches that are shutting include Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester.

The closure of the Oxford Street site will impact Debenhams’ London Support Centre which sits above the store.

For the time being, Support Centre colleagues will continue to work remotely in line with government guidance and its Support Centre in Taunton remains operational.

“We continue to engage with interested parties over alternative proposals for the future of Debenhams, but inevitably the latest lockdown has had an effect on our plans for the wind-down of the business,” FRP Advisory partner Geoff Rowley said.

“We regret the impact on those colleagues affected by today’s announcement and would like to thank all those who continue to keep the business trading in very difficult circumstances.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Very sad that a company that has survived so much in 242 years, couldn’t survive the bad decisions and greed of the last 15 years.

  2. The leases ended its leases I’m sick of them in retail why can’t they end? Why don’t companies buy a premises and own it then sell it the same as a home? When other companies inside the shops go bust what happens to the huge shops with empty spaces?

  3. Had nothing to do with leases. If a company is sold to a buy out firm in the city that then goes on to sell the freeholds of properties to take equity out of the firm then lease back at very high rents upward only for 40 years and expand recklessly whilst online is growing even in the mid 00’s which Debenhams did, then you are going to end up in trouble.
    No store investment. Stores that look the same as in 1990’s. Tired ranges and an extension of Arcadia who used Debenhams initally when they owned them but then as a way of being able to shut their own shops on lease expiry it’s not a recipe for success.

    Both Canterbury and Folkestone Debenhams PLC owned the buildings. They were sold and leased back hence the closures. Shame as both local economies have suffered without them as anchor’s though Canterbury for now retains Fenwick and it’s large but dated M and S main store. Oxford Street is currently on the market for the whole building though who will take it I’m very very doubtful.

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