Everything has to go! £ 200m fire sale at Debenhams as the chain prepares to close its last 97 stores
- Debenhams is set to launch a fire sale of £ 200 million stock on Monday
- The remaining 97 branches are expected to close at the end of next month
Department store giant Debenhams is set to launch a fire sale of £ 200 million stock tomorrow. This is the biggest sale since Woolworths passed away.
The chain’s closure, which imploded last year, will leave a nuisance on the country’s main highways, where Debenhams is one of the biggest stores.
The remaining 97 branches are expected to close at the end of next month.
Debenham’s remaining 97 stores are expected to close by the end of next month
The company failed last year after the pandemic blasted a hole in financial restructuring plans and failed to find a bailout buyer.
It wasn’t the only victim. Other chains have joined Debenhams in the junkyard, and now thousands of stores that closed last year due to lockdowns are not reopening at all.
The chief of a high street survivor examined the landscape and said, “We hope for a large increase in spending, and there will be some cities and some shopping malls that will work well. But I’m afraid some of these places are going to look pretty devastated.
“There are some big names that are big on some major roads that are now being closed for good.”
Another retail chief said, “Shoppers may find it strange to be in some of these places, even after the stores have reopened. All you have to do is walk down London’s Oxford Street, where up to a third of shops don’t reopen. «
Major Oxford Street stores that have suffered a fatal blow from the pandemic include Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Gap. Other stores that were closed before the crisis and are still empty include HMV, the huge fashion store Forever 21 and Links of London.
Major Oxford Street stores hit by the pandemic include Topshop and Gap
Online giant Asos grabbed Topshop, Top Man and Miss Selfridge brands, while rival Boohoo bought the Debenhams name and website for £ 55 million and a host of other high street brands. Neither keep any of the businesses.
Retail sources said liquidation specialist Hilco sold Debenhams stock online. But they said there is currently between £ 180 million and £ 200 million locked in stores and warehouses ready to deliver the closing sale.
In contrast, high street retail survivors expect spending to spike in the coming months – amid renewed confidence following the introduction of the vaccines – as shoppers saved the country billions in lockdowns.
Many retailers have worked hard this year to refresh stores and ranges. Pippa Wicks, John Lewis Executive Director, said, “Our stores are looking fabulous. We have some really inspiring layouts and lots of new products. I think it will be pretty busy, I think people really want to go back to the stores and shop.
‘Online we’ve already seen a 100 percent increase in handbag sales, a 200 percent increase in clothes and a 50 percent increase in makeup. So we know that people are preparing to connect with friends and family.
“We will see a lot of people coming in and wanting to buy clothes. We will also see an increase in patio furniture. ‘
John Lewis director Pippa Wicks said spending patterns have changed a lot
She added, “We already have customers who call people in our stores and ask what we have, when to open and how to get in the first place in the queue. We’ll have marshals who make sure things don’t get overloaded. Safety is our top priority.
‘Everyone is really excited. The mood is good, people are pumped up to open again. ‘
However, it confirmed that spending patterns have changed significantly. Wicks said: “We were 40 percent online before the pandemic and expect it will be between 60 and 70 percent in the future.
“Next week it will be bouncy, but a lot will depend on whether or not people get to go overseas this summer and whether there will be a lot of job losses after the pandemic.
“There are so many strangers so we’ll take it easy.”