320 jobs to go as Debenhams permanently shuts six more stores

13 January 2021, 15:34

Debenhams store
Coronavirus – Thu Apr 16, 2020. Picture: PA

Its flagship Oxford Street shop will not reopen after administrators were unable to extend its lease.

Department store chain Debenhams has said it will permanently close six branches, including the flagship Oxford Street shop, with the loss of 320 jobs.

It said it had also told staff at stores in Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester last week that they will not reopen.

The company started a liquidation process last month after failing to secure a last-minute rescue sale.

Debenhams’ administrator FRP Advisory said it is continuing to talk with potential suitors over the potential sale of all or parts of the business.

Coronavirus – Tue Jan 5, 2021
The store in Worcester is due to close permanently (David Davies/PA)

The insolvency firm said it still intends to reopen as many stores as possible to sell off stock, despite coronavirus restrictions keeping non-essential retailers shut.

The chain is continuing to sell its stock through online platforms.

It is the latest set of job cuts by Debenhams, which axed 2,500 staff in August and around 1,000 in May.

Debenhams said it will close its Oxford Street store after failing to agree a lease extension on the site with landlords amid speculation that restrictions on non-essential retailers are unlikely to ease until at least March.

The closure of the Oxford Street store will also affect Debenhams’s London support centre which sits above the shop.

The retailer said support centre colleagues will continue to work from home, in line with Government guidance, for the time being.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator to Debenhams and partner at FRP, said: “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.

“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.”

By Press Association