DEBENHAMS in Redditch is safe – for the time being – after surviving the first cull of the firm’s department stores.
The Redditch branch was missing from a list of 22 stores earmarked for closure after Christmas 2019, with 1,200 affected, although the owners said they hoped to re-locate as many as possible.
Speaking on last week’s Redditch Standard podcast of April 10 (https://redditchstandard.co.uk/podcasts/) Ken Williams, general manager of the Kingfisher Shopping Centre had acknowledged that the future of the complex’s anchor store was out of his hands but they were working with Debenhams to ensure they had every reason to stay in the town.
As such, today’s announcement will come as good news to not just the Kingfisher but to the people of Redditch as well.
Debenhams, spread over two floors, offers a comprehensive range of fashion and formal wear, footwear, kitchenware as well as luggage, gifts, perfumery, bedlinen and accessories plus it boasts an attractive and well-priced restaurant.
Debenhams is Britain’s biggest chain of department stores however its rapid expansion has left it with heavy debts, and with the dawn of online shopping, it has seen sales suffer.
Earlier this year, in need of a fresh injection of cash to keep going, it was taken over by its lenders.
Debenhams had earlier signalled its intention to close 50 stores with the first tranche of 22 branches announced today. These are at Altrincham, Ashford, The Fort in Birmingham, Canterbury, Chatham, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Great Yarmouth, Guildford, Kirkcaldy, Orpington, Slough, Southport, Southsea, Staines, Stockton-on-Tees, Walton-on-Thames, Wandsworth, Welwyn Garden City, Wimbledon, Witney, Wolverhampton.
Debenhams is not the only chain feelign the affects of the change in people’s shopping habits – Marks and Spencer has been closing stores, including their one in Redditch, while BHS and House of Fraser is also shutting branches.