More woes for Debenhams with 7 stores earmarked for closure

Stores could be at risk if the department store chain is unable to reach an agreement with proprietors, after it entered administration earlier this month due to coronavirus

UK department store chain Debenhams has earmarked seven stores for closure after failing to reach an agreement with landlords.

The decision will affect more than 420 staff across Debenhams’ Truro, Stratford-upon-Avon, Salisbury, Westfield, Warrington, Leamington Spa and South Shields locations.

More shops could be at risk if the negotiations with proprietors are unsuccessful.

“Regrettably we have been unable to reach agreement on seven stores and these will not be reopening,” said the retailer’s CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste.

“I’d like to express my thanks to our colleagues in these stores at what I know is a difficult time for everything.”

Debenhams announced earlier this month that it would enter 'light touch' administration in order to protect it from legal action that could push the firm into liquidation while its stores are closed due to Covid-19.

Despite the announcement, Vansteenkiste is positive about the measures being made.

“I’m delighted with the progress we are making with our landlord discussions, which reflects the pragmatic view the vast majority of them are taking of the current market conditions.

“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.

Since Vansteenkiste took up the role of CEO in August 2019 26 Debenhams stores have closed.

Following an announcement in 2018, Debenhams said it expected to close 50 of its UK shops with the first wave announced in January this year and more expected to take place in 2021.

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