Debenhams starts the year with significant store closures

Debenhams is starting the new decade with a raft of store closures. The company is planning to close 19 sites between January 11 and January 25.

The company has not previously been shy about sharing news of the need to shutter underperforming sites and it has been known for some months that significant numbers of stores will be closed. It’s also planning to exit a further 28 locations, but possibly not until next year. Their closure dates will depend on the result of its ongoing negotiations with landlords.

The retailer’s still-new CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste is staying upbeat, however, and said that the company is “working hard to implement the transformation of Debenhams. Despite a challenging retail environment, thanks to our colleagues’ hard work and our investor group’s commitment we are progressing with our turnaround.”

The company has already recently shut three stores, in Haverfordwest, Orpington and York, and will close six as of this Saturday, in Altrincham, Birmingham The Fort, Kirkcaldy, Walton-on-Thames, Wandsworth, and Wolverhampton.

Its stores in Chatham, Great Yarmouth, Slough, Stockton-on-Tees, Welwyn, and Witney will close early next week, followed by Ashford, Canterbury, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Southport, Southsea, and Wimbledon later in the month.

Last year, when it first announced the closure plans, the company said it “has a clear strategy and a bright future” but had a store estate that was “not appropriate for today’s much changed retail environment”. It added that the aim was to save as many stores as it could “while making the business fit for the future”.