Debenhams stores in Ipswich, Colchester and Bury St Edmunds safe from closure threat

Debenhams department store in Ipswich town centre

Debenhams department store in Ipswich town centre - Credit: Archant

Troubled department store chain, Debenhams, has just revealed a list of the 22 stores it plans to close next year, and branches across Suffolk and north Essex are safe.

Debenhams, Arc shopping centre at Bury St Edmunds. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Debenhams, Arc shopping centre at Bury St Edmunds. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

The chain, which has been a takeover target for Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, went into a pre-pack administration earlier this month wiping out the stakes of all shareholders including Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley.

The company management said they would have to close some outlets in order to keep the chain alive and there were fears the departure of Debenhams from Ipswich would leave an irreparable hole in the High Street - see more here

However, the store, along with those in Bury st Edmunds, Colchester and Chelmsford, are safe.

The stores due to close are: Altrincham, Ashford, Birmingham Fort, Canterbury, Chatham, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Great Yarmouth, Guildford, Kirkcaldy, Orpington, Slough, Southport, Southsea, Staines, Stockton, Walton, Wandsworth, Welwyn Garden City, Wimbledon, Witney and Wolverhampton.

Debenhams, Chelmsford Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Debenhams, Chelmsford Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

The company has warned the 22 store closures could result in 1,200 job losses.

The group has announced a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which will see the affected shops continue trading until early 2020.

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Further closures could still be announced following discussions with landlords. Meanwhile rent reductions will be sought on many of the remaining branches.

Terry Duddy, executive chairman of Debenhams, said: “The issues facing the UK high street are very well known.

Debenhams, Colchester

Debenhams, Colchester - Credit: Archant

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“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.”

The retailer announced that it would pursue a restructuring last year, but the path for the process has now been cleared after control of the company was passed to its lenders.

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