The troubled retailer has announced a restructuring plan that will see 22 stores close next year, including shops in the North West in Altrincham and Southport.
Setting out the terms of its Company Voluntary Arrangement, Debenhams also warned further store closures are expected “in due course” with the final number “dependent on future trading performance”. Around 1,200 staff work in the 22 stores across the country and the retailer said it would look to redeploy “as many as possible”.
All the impacted stores will remain open throughout 2019, including through Christmas trading; a firm date for their closure has not yet been set. The Altrincham store is part of the wider Stamford Quarter development, while Southport’s store is on Lord Street.
Debenhams has already confirmed the closure of one its major warehouses and added its three other facilities “could be consolidated further”.
Terry Duddy, executive chairman of Debenhams, said: “The issues facing the UK high street are very well known. Debenhams has a clear strategy and a bright future, but in order for the business to prosper, we need to restructure the group’s store portfolio and its balance sheet, which are not appropriate for today’s much changed retail environment.
“Our priority is to save as many stores and as many jobs as we can, while making the business fit for the future.”
Earlier this month, lenders took control of the company in a move which saw investors’ shareholdings wiped out. The retailer had been courted by Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, who made several attempts to buy the company, but instead a £200m rescue package was agreed.
In the North West, the retailer has shops in Manchester and Liverpool, along with Altrincham, Chester, Warrington, Stockport, Oldham, Bolton, Bury, Preston, Blackpool, Blackburn, Southport, Wigan, Carlisle and Workington. Debenhams also has an outlet at Cheshire Oaks and a North Wales estate encompassing Wrexham, Llandudno and Bangor.