Death of the department store?

Figures for ITV News show the sheer scale of department store closures in the UK.

Battered by online competition and falling consumer spending, communities across the UK are losing stores that have been around for decades. Some experts now question whether there is any future in this retail business model.

Bennetts in Ashbourne closed its doors after 300 years. Credit: Chris Choi

Our new research shows:

  • 154 department stores have closed in the last two years - more than six a month
  • The closures include branches of House of Fraser, Dunnes Stores and M&S
  • 166 Debenhams are now in administration - meaning their future is uncertain
  • Around 40 M&S are earmarked for future closure - in their place 60 mainly food only stores will be opened

Lucy Stainton, head of retail at the Local Data Company, on how department stores of the future could look

In their heyday department stores ruled retail. With the days of the haberdashery counter long gone, consumer enthusiasm for these outlets has cooled, leaving hundreds gone or going.

Today I visited one department store in the painful process of closing.

Bennetts in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, is part of a department store business dating back 300 years.

Former CEO of Liberty, Iain Renwick, on how department stores could reverse their fortunes

A branch in Derby will survive, but the administrator was today making final sales calls to clear remaining stock in Ashbourne.

It was a sorry sight and the dedicated employees were clearly very emotional - some have worked there for decades.

Now it’s not just the staff that face an uncertain future - it is the very concept of a department store.

Fixtures and fittings for auction following the closure of Bennetts in Ashbourne. Credit: Chris Choi