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Debenhams in Guildford set to close

3 minute read
Debenhams in Guildford set to close

Published at 10:29am 26th April 2019. (Updated at 2:16pm 26th April 2019)

Guildford's Debenhams store is closing down under new plans for the company's future.

The branch in Millbrook will shut its doors some time after Christmas.

The other Surrey store earmarked for closure is Walton.

The announcement was made this morning as part of proposals to shore up the chain's future.

The company confirmed news reports that up to 22 sites would go in the first wave after December 2019 - if creditors backed the so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Guildford Borough Council’s Managing Director, James Whiteman, says:

“We are disappointed that Debenhams is planning to close its Guildford store.

"We consider this to be a key site in the town centre and we’ve already had ongoing discussions about the future of this site with the landowner. We feel it has the potential for residential development and helping to open up the river.

"Guildford town centre remains a vibrant and prosperous retail centre and we will be working to ensure that the future of the Debenhams site enhances the future of Guildford.”

As well as Guildford and Walton, the other stores shutting are:

  • Altrincham
  • Ashford
  • Birmingham Fort
  • Canterbury
  • Chatham
  • Eastbourne
  • Folkestone
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Kirkcaldy
  • Orpington
  • Slough
  • Southport
  • Southsea
  • Staines
  • Stockton
  • Wandsworth
  • Welwyn Garden City
  • Wimbledon
  • Witney
  • Wolverhampton

The strategy, which is based on the CVA proposal Debenhams set out last year ahead of its collapse, still places thousands of jobs at risk.

The retailer said 1,200 employees were affected at the 22 sites - though it hoped to redeploy some of the staff.

The strategy will see almost a third of its 166 sites go as Debenhams looks to bolster profitability by cutting away the most expensive stores.

The business has been exposed to the wider crisis facing the high street that has seen weak consumer confidence combine with higher costs from things like rents, wages and business rates.

But it has also failed to get to grips with legacy issues such as being late to the rush for online shopping.

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