Debenhams Forced to Close All Its Stores as Lockdown Deals Final Blow to More Than 240 Years of Retail History

Debenhams will close the doors of its remaining U.K. stores for the final time this weekend because of lockdown, bringing more than 240 years of retail history to an end. Sky News has the story.

The department store chain, a staple of high streets since 1778, will close its remaining 28 stores for good on Saturday after the company collapsed amid the fallout of the Covid pandemic.

It closed 21 of its sites across the U.K. for the final time on Thursday.

The retailer was already struggling before the coronavirus outbreak, as shoppers moved away from traditional department store models and moved online.

But it could not cope with the enforced closure of sites during lockdown and quickly went into administration within weeks of the virus fully hitting the U.K..

The company, which began life as a high end draper in London’s West End, started its liquidation process at the start of this year after failing to secure a rescue sale.

Debenhams employed more than 20,000 people before lockdown struck. The closure of its stores is just the tip of the iceberg for the high street. Over 11,000 retail outlets permanently closed in 2020, and the Local Data Company expects this will be followed by 18,000 more closures in 2021.

Image from the Guardian.

The Sky News report is worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Arthur Beale, a 500 year-old yacht chandler in London, has closed its doors for the last time. The Wall St Journal has the story.

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