News Debenhams is set to close up to 50 stores over the next three to five years has sparked debate on social media.
The retail giant announced it would be closing outlets for which it ‘did not see a long term future’, but has not declared which locations would be affected, leaving the future of Worthing’s South Street store uncertain.
In a positive indication, town centre manager Sharon Clarke said Debenham’s chief executive, Sergio Bucher, visited the town recently and said the shop was performing well.
See more of Mrs Clarke’s remarks here: What does the future hold for Worthing’s Debenhams store?
The chain’s reluctance to confirm which stores are safe has prompted speculation over the Worthing store and, in the unfortunate event of it being closed down, what people would like to see as a replacement.
As a staple of the town centre for many years, many people on the Worthing Herald’s Facebook page are supportive of Debenhams.
The Herald has published a comment piece lending its support to the Worthing store: COMMENT: Worthing Debenhams closure would be huge blow to town
Sarah Maskell commented to warn people not to ‘wish it away’. She said: “All fingers should be crossed that it will stay as it would not be easy to fill the gap it would leave.”
Yvette Savile-Barton echoed her sentiments and said she hoped Debenhams stayed, as it is good to have a store which sells different brands.
Responding to several commenters who called for a Primark to replace the store, Yvette said it would be a ‘travesty’ if that were the case.
The idea of a Primark coming to Worthing has dominated similar debates for years.
Several comments simply said ‘Primark’, and many highlighted the importance of having an affordable clothing brand in the town.
Jason Smith commented to ask ‘can someone please explain to me the fascination with Primark?’ and Jane Green agreed, asking ‘what’s the obsession?’
Keith Sutherland rejected the idea of a Primark, but said he would like to see flats built around a courtyard, with local shops.
Timothy Robin commented to say he thought it was time for a change, but he also opposed the idea of a Primark. He said: “Was in there yesterday (first time in years) was like a ghost town. More shop assistants chatting than customers. As for Primark, the foot flow is not in Worthing to accommodate one, it’s all about volume and Worthing does not have it, same reason no Nandos and an ice rink before they get mentioned.”
Other retailers have also been proposed, with Donna Marie Laker suggesting bringing Next back to Worthing, or a Zara. She said she wanted somewhere that sells ‘decent clothing for adults and children’.
See more on how the news broke here: