Debenhams to close five more department stores

Debenhams will close a further five department stores, putting around 1,000 jobs at risk.

The shops are all situated in Hammerson shopping centres the Bullring and Grand Central in Birmingham, The Oracle in Reading, Highcross in Leicester, Silverburn in Glasgow and Centrale in Croydon.

These same stores have been announced as the locations for a new beauty hall concept from Next.

“We can confirm that despite our best efforts, we have been unable to agree terms with Hammerson on our five stores in its shopping centres, and so they will not be reopening," read a statement. “We continue to engage in constructive talks with our landlords and have agreed terms on the vast majority of our stores, which we look forward to reopening when government restrictions allow.”

Last month, Debenhams appointed administrators in order to protect its UK business from the threat of legal action that could have pushed it into liquidation. At the time, administrators said they would be adopting a “light touch” to help the business get to a position where it could re-open as many of its 142 stores as possible once the Coronavirus lockdown lifts.

Speaking of the Next beauty hall project, Hammerson chief executive David Atkins said: “This is another example of how we are repurposing department store space and improving the shopping experience for consumers.

"The Beauty Hall from Next is a great concept and it’s a real vote of confidence in our flagship destinations that Next has chosen these locations to launch its new offer.”

Hammerson stated that it is pursuing other opportunities to repurpose other floors within the former Debenhams stores.

Next chief executive Simon Wolfson added: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with existing and new beauty brand partners to create a new force in beauty retailing – bringing our online business to life through premium store environments in some of the UK’s most important retail locations.”

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