Final Debenhams stores to shut as chain’s 243-year history ends

Press Eye
Debenhams Royal Avenue store

Debenhams is to shut its doors for the final time in its 243-year history.

The historic department store chain will close its remaining 28 stores across the UK for good on Saturday after the company collapsed amid the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

It closed 21 of its sites across the UK for the final time on Thursday.

Its Ballymena store shut on 12 May, with its branches in Belfast, Newry and Craigavon shutting on 15 May.

The company's branch in the Foyleside Shopping Centre in Londonderry has already shut but it is to be occupied by a new branch of Frasers, similar to its store in Belfast's Victoria Square.

The retailer has suffered slumping sales in recent years as shoppers moved away from traditional department store models.

However, the enforced closure of sites during the pandemic was the final straw, resulting in the company falling into administration within weeks of the virus fully hitting the UK.

The company then started its liquidation process at the start of this year after failing to secure a rescue sale.

Debenhams, which employed more than 20,000 people before the pandemic, sold its brand and website to online giant Boohoo for £55 million in January but confirmed its bricks and mortar business would close for good.

It reopened sites from April 12 after the reopening of essential retail in order to clear stock across its stores.

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