4th Jul, 2022

Debenhams Coventry could reopen when lockdown ends as retailer confirms stores set to close

John Carlon 20th Apr, 2020

DEBENHAMS’ Coventry store looks set to re-open after lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The West Orchards store is understood to be among most of the chain’s 142 stores nationwide which have seen a deal struck with landlords allowing them to keep trading when restrictions are lifted.

The stricken retailer has made more than 120 deals and bosses said they hoped to make further deals in the coming days.

But nearby stores in Leamington and Stratford are among seven nationwide which will remain permanently shut.

Debenhams’ chief executive 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.

“Regrettably we have been unable to reach agreement on seven stores and these will not be reopening, and I’d like to express my thanks to our colleagues in these stores at what I know is a difficult time for everyone.”

The company called in the administrators earlier this month in a bid to shield itself from creditors seizing its assets.

Its online retail in the UK and Europe has continued as normal.

But concern has been voiced about what the future holds.

Alan Lockey, head of the Royal Society of Arts Future Work Centre, said: “Debenhams going into administration highlights an underlying weakness in our economy.

“In the longer term, the coronavirus crisis will accelerate the changes we’ve been seeing in retail over the last two decades – the displacement of ‘traditional’ retail work as shopping moves online and automation accelerates.

“Debenhams is just the tip of the iceberg – other major retailers will likely follow, and some of the jobs lost during the pandemic may never return.”

Other stores not re-opening include Salisbury, South Shields, Truro, Warrington and Westfield London.

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