Debenhams' Stratford store to permanently close despite move to save most others - The Stratford Observer

Debenhams' Stratford store to permanently close despite move to save most others

Stratford Editorial 20th Apr, 2020   0

DEBENHAMS’ tratford store will remain shut after lockdown despite the chain striking a deal with landlords to reopen most of stores when restrictions are lifted.

The Wood Street store is among seven, including the branch in neighbouring Leamington, which will shut down permanently. The seven closures will affect a total of 422 of the firm’s 22,000 staff nationwide.

The stricken retailer has made deals which will see 120 of its 142 stores across the country reopen. Bosses have said they hope to make further deals in the coming days.

Debenhams’ chief executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste said: “We have agreed terms on the vast majority of our UK stores and talks are proceeding positively on the remainder, positioning us to reopen these stores when government regulations permit.

“Regrettably we have been unable to reach agreement on seven stores and these will not be reopening, and I’d like to express my thanks to our colleagues in these stores at what I know is a difficult time for everyone.”

The company called in the administrators earlier this month in a bid to shield itself from creditors seizing its assets.

Its online retail in the UK and Europe has continued as normal.

But concern has been voiced about what the future holds.

Alan Lockey, head of the Royal Society of Arts Future Work Centre, said: “Debenhams going into administration highlights an underlying weakness in our economy.

“In the longer term, the coronavirus crisis will accelerate the changes we’ve been seeing in retail over the last two decades – the displacement of ‘traditional’ retail work as shopping moves online and automation accelerates.

“Debenhams is just the tip of the iceberg – other major retailers will likely follow, and some of the jobs lost during the pandemic may never return.”

Other stores not re-opening include Salisbury, South Shields, Truro, Warrington and Westfield London.

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