Today it’s annouched that Debenhams is closing down for good, with 12,000 jobs at risk as a result. A truly sad day for the high street
Debenhams had already cut about 6,500 jobs since May, BBC News reports, as it struggled during a difficult year for retailers. Talk of a rescue bid from the owner of JD Sports has fallen through, leaving the retailer with no option other than to close.
Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics, said: ‘We can not overstate the significance of this collapse, given the vast property portfolio, number of jobs impacted and the reverberations felt across the industry.’
‘The reality is that Debenhams has been outmanoeuvred by more nimble competitors, failed to embrace change and was left with a tiring proposition. The impact of the pandemic has accelerated its demise, but underlying issues within the business were the root cause.’
Debenhams Closing down – what we’ll miss
It’s been a turbulent few years for the retailer. Debenhams first went into administration on April 9th of last year, when it was announced that 22 stores were closing in 2020 as a result. Of course this year proved more difficult than anyone could anticipate.
You can chart Debenhams history way back to 1778, when William Clark opened a drapers on London’s Wigmore Street. Then in 1813, William Debenham invested in the company, and by 1905 it bore his name. It’s since become one of the high street’s most enduring brands. We really had hoped for another 240 years.
Here are just a few of the things we’ll miss with Debenhams closing down for good.
1. J at Jasper Conran
So H&M and countless others may be all over the designer collabs these days. But we won’t forget that Debenhams was the first to do it properly. Back in 1993, it launched its Designers at Debenhams range, with the aim of making top-flight designers affordable to the masses.
Designers have come and gone (Betty Jackson and Henry Holland, to name but two), but special mention has to go to Jasper Conran. He’s been on board since day one and continues to come up trumps with fabulous womensware and home ranges.
2. The Blue Cross sales
There’s no 20 per cent off nonsense to be found here. When Debenhams does a sale they don’t mess about, often slashing 70 per cent off prices.
3. Affordably chic lighting
We’ll be sad to see the lights switched off. Where BHS left off on the high street Debenhams took over with a fabulous lighting department – all at affordable prices, for every budget.
4. Out of stock at Oasis/Wallis/Warehouse? Get it at Debenhams
When that must-have party outfit sells out online, and you’ve tried three branches with no luck, just head to Debenhams. Your jumpsuit of dreams may well be waiting in the racks of the store concession, because no one ever remembers this trick!
Another plus of having all the brands in one place is that you don’t need to run the gauntlet of your local shopping centre – or send back three separate parcels when you order online. Instead you can mix and match brands and embark on one big trying-on sesh.
5. The free bra-fitting service
Did you know that 80 per cent of ladies are wearing the wrong bra size? But Debenhams has always been here to help. Yes, we know M&S does this, too, but Debenhams has a much larger selection of brands, making it even easier to get a bra you love with the perfect fit.
6. Ben de Lisi’s French Bulldogs
Ben has been designing a diffusion line for Debenhams since 1997 – but his foray into homes for the first time in 2009 sent Frenchie fans wild. Inspired by one of his pet French Bulldogs, Ben designed the Ella cushion. It’s still Debenhams’ fastest ever-selling cushion to this day.
7. The Debenhams carvery
If you’ve never visited a Debenhams restaurant you could be missing a trick. PROPER fish and chips (with mushy peas), burgers, salads and toasties are all on the menu. But the star of the show has to be the carvery. And we’re not the only ones that think so…
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What will you miss if your local Debenhams closes its doors for good?