Debenhams: 320 jobs to go as permanent closures hit stores across six cities

Credit: PA

A total of 320 Debenhams workers are set to lose their jobs as stores across six cities in the UK close for good.

The department store has announced its flagship Oxford Street shop is among the sites to close - as well as stores in Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester.

In December the company announced it was to start winding down its operations after nearly 250-years of trading - having failing to secure a last-minute rescue sale.

Debenhams’ administrator, FRP Advisory, has said it is continuing to talk with third parties over the potential sales of all or parts of the historic retail business.

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."

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.

People walking past Debenhams department store on the High street in Winchester, ahead of the re-opening of retailers in England on June 15. Credit: PA

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

The latest announcement is more bleak news for the chain, after last week ITV News revealed that Debenhams had been forced to close its online business in Ireland to avoid the cost of tariffs now required under the trade deal agreed between the UK and the EU.

The website was taken offline on Christmas Eve as the Trade and Cooperation Agreement was published.

The fall of Debenhams followed the collapse of Arcadia Group - which owns the department store chain and a number of other high street names - in December.