Debenhams to close six stores forever including flagship Oxford Street shop

DEBENHAMS has confirmed plans to close six stores permanently including its flagship Oxford Street shop.

Other branches that are shutting include Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester.

In total, 320 members of staff will be affected by these store closures.

Debenhams' remaining 118 shops are set to disappear from the high street, putting around 880 jobs at risk, after rescue talks to save the 242-year-old retailer failed.

JD Sports was the last remaining bidder but it pulled out of a potential deal in December last year.

It was announced in December that Debenhams would be wound down with 124 shops on course to be closed, along with 1,200 jobs.

Which Debenhams stores are closing permanently?

DEBENHAMS is closing the following branches for good as its business is liquidated:

  • Oxford Street
  • Portsmouth
  • Staines
  • Harrogate
  • Weymouth
  • Worcester

An exact date for when the remaining Debenhams branches will close has yet to be confirmed but The Sun understands that it depends on when stock runs out at each location.

The rest of Debenhams' stores are currently closed due to lockdown rules, but shoppers can still purchase goods on its website.

Debenhams has been selling off its stock online before shutting stores through an 80% off closing down sale.

But in bad news for shoppers hoping to bag a bargain, the retailer stopped accepting gift cards on December 21, 2020.

Debenhams has already cut 6,500 jobs since May after falling into administration for the second time in April.

Retailers hit by covid

THE coronavirus pandemic has pushed struggling retailers over the edge. Here are some other high-profile retail names hit by the virus outbreak:

Aldo shoe shop went into administration in May resulting in five UK store closures and it's searching for a buyer for the remaining business, though franchised stores are not part of the process and concessions remain trading.

Arcadia, the owner of Topshop and other top high street fashion brands, filed for administration on Monday, the biggest British corporate insolvency so far of the coronavirus pandemic.

Benson Beds fell into administration in June with Harveys Furniture and was quickly bought back by its owners in a prearranged deal.

Brighthouse fell into administration at the end of March.

Cath Kidston went into administration in April and its online, franchise and wholesale arms were bought back by its owners resulting in the closure of 60 stores and 908 redundancies.

Harveys Furniture, the UK's second largest furniture retailer, fell into administration in June and continues to trade and honour existing orders while it plans to close 20 stores and make 240 staff redundant.

Laura Ashley said in March it would permanently shut 70 stores and cut hundreds of jobs after appointing administrators.

LK Bennet brought in administrators earlier this year and is proposing to close stores and reduce rents to save the business.

Oasis and Warehouse The British fashion brands fell into administration in mid-April after failing to find buyers, and online fashion group Boohoo said in June it was buying the brands but closing all stores.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks and Jaeger owners fell into administration in November, putting 4,716 jobs at risk.

Monsoon Accessorize went into administration in June and were then bought out of administration by their founder with plans to close 35 stores, make 545 staff redundant and seek rent cuts for remaining shops to try and stay afloat.

The collapse comes after Debenhams' sales in the six months to October plunged to £323million versus billions in its heyday.

It's understood its demise is also partly linked to the administration of Arcadia, which is the biggest operator of concessions in Debenhams stores.

Sir Philip Green’s retail empire includes brands such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Topshop. 

Debenhams had been struggling with tough high street conditions long before the impact of coronavirus hit the UK.

In April 2019, the retailer fell into the control of lenders, a group of banks and hedge funds led by US firm Silver Point Capital.

The move saw 50 stores shut permanently, as well as rents reduced across dozens of other branches.

The demise of Arcadia puts 13,000 jobs at risk. Meanwhile, the majority of Debenhams' current employees in the UK are currently being paid under the government's furlough scheme.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator to Debenhams and Partner at FRP Advisory, said: "We continue to engage with interested parties over alternative proposals for the future of Debenhams.

"Inevitably the latest lockdown has had an effect on our plans for the wind-down of the business.

"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."

Coronavirus restrictions and the closure of non-essential shops have caused scores of high-name brands to struggle over the past 12 months.

Peacocks and Jaeger, which are owned by Edinburgh Woolen Mill Group, fell into administration last month, putting 21,000 jobs at risk. 

Laura Ashley went bust in March, just before the lockdown was brought in, while fashion giants Oasis and Warehouse fell into administration in April.

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