Future of Worthing Debenhams store addressed as company names 22 store closures
The future of the Worthing Debenhams store has been confirmed for now after 22 stores were named for closure this morning.
The BBC has reported that the store closures will start in 2020 - the first phase of closures, with 28 expected to be closed at a later date.
Worthing's store and its staff in South Street are safe until this next announcement, but Eastbourne's store will be closing.
All Debenhams stores are proposed to remain open during 2019, including through Christmas peak trading.
A message on the retailer’s customer service line is assuring customers that all gift cards will be honoured and trading is continuing as normal.
Here is the list of stores expected to close:
Altrincham; Ashford; Birmingham Fort; Canterbury; Chatham; Eastbourne; Folkestone; Great Yarmouth; Guildford; Kirkcaldy; Orpington; Slough; Southport; Southsea; Staines; Walton; Wandsworth; Welwyn Garden City; Wimbledon; Witney; Wolverhampton
Chairman issues statement
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.”
Staff union reacts
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has called for urgent talks to give staff a voice in the future of the company.
Dave Gill, the union's national officer, said: “This is more devastating news for staff who have been working under the threat of store closures for some time.
"They have been left on the side-lines as a game of corporate monopoly has been played out in the media.
"It is devastating news for staff in the store closures announced to today and the threat continues in every other Debenhams store."
Earlier this month, the department store rejected a £200million offer from Sports Direct, whose CEO Mike Ashley already owns 29 per cent of Debenhams shares.
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