Debenhams confirms Oxford Street store will not reopen after Covid-19 lockdown

Stores in Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester will also permanently close

Debenhams' Oxford Street store, London

Collapsed department store chain Debenhams has said six of its branches will not reopen once England’s Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, including its Oxford Street, London, flagship.

Stores in Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester will be affected by the decision as the business prepares to wind down its operations.

The decision will make 320 staff redundant, including the 140 employed at its Oxford Street shop.

Debenhams had intended to reopen as many stores as possible to complete the stock liquidation process.

However, with non-essential retailers unlikely to reopen until March, the beleaguered retailer was unable to agree lease extensions for the six properties.

“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,” said Geoff Rowley, joint administrator of Debenhams at FRP Advisory.

“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 announcement is a further blow to the central London shopping destination following rumours that Topshop’s flagship is up for sale.

Topshop’s owner Arcadia, established by retail tycoon Sir Philip Green, went bust at the end of 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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