Debenhams in landlord deal to keep most stores open, Westfield branch to shut
Apr 20, 2020
Debenhams has reached a deal with its landlords that will see 120 of its shops continuing to trade once the retail lockdown ends. But seven of them are set to close. Negotiations around its other branches are continuing.
The seven shops that are due to close will affect 422 staff and they include a London flagship at the recently refurbished giant Westfield London supermall. The remaining branches are Leamington Spa, Salisbury, South Shields, Stratford-upon-Avon, Truro and Warrington.
The Westfield closure is particularly significant. While supermalls such as this are key attractions for large numbers of local and tourist shoppers in the good times, they’re expensive stores to rent and maintain and are therefore more likely to be on closure hitlists when times get tough. Arcadia, for instance, closed its Westfield Stratford branch of Topshop and Missguided shut its flagship there too.
Debenhams, which is currently in administration, has 142 branches and had already closed a number of stores. It had also planned to close a further 28, but not until next year.
The 15 stores not included in the latest agreements should have deals announced within the next few days, the company said.
CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste said: “We have agreed terms on the vast majority of our UK stores and talks are proceeding positively on the remainder, positioning us to reopen these stores when government regulations permit.”
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