Department store group Debenhams has confirmed seven stores will not repoen after the UK country-wide lockdown comes to an end.
The 242-year-old retailer, which has 22,000 employees, temporarily closed its UK and Republic of Ireland stores for trading from close of play on 23 March as part of efforts to help limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
In a statement, Debenhams CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste said while the company is making progress in discussions with its landlords, it has failed to strike an agreement on seven stores. These are understood to comprise of the Truro, Stratford-upon-Avon, Salisbury, Westfield, Warrington, Leamington Spa, and South Shields locations.
“I’m delighted with the progress we are making with our landlord discussions which reflects the pragmatic view the vast majority of them are taking of the current market conditions. 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.”
just-style understands some 422 colleagues across the seven stores will be affected, while Debenhams has agreed terms with landlords on more than 120 of its 142 UK sites.
The retail group entered administration in the UK earlier this month and noted it is likely a liquidator will be appointed to the Irish operations.