Debenhams to close South Shields store after firm falls into administration

Debenhams in South Shields will not reopen after the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, bosses have confirmed.

The company’s Waterloo Square store is among seven closures confirmed by the company on Friday, April 17, leading to 477 job losses across the UK.

It comes after the historic department store firm filed for administration on Thursday, April 9, casting a shadow over its 22,000 staff.

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It’s the second time Debenhams has entered administration, after being hard hit by the current coronavirus lockdown.

Debenhams in Waterloo Square, South Shields.

The store appointed administrators from the FRP Advisory to oversee the process.

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Now it joins a host of high street names to close its doors in the town centre, following the likes of H Samuel, Bon Marche and Poundland in the last year.

The firm has now said it has agreed terms with landlords to continue trading at 120 of its 142 UK stores.

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It is understood the group is in ongoing talks over the remaining stores and is confident more deals will be secured in the coming days.

However the company failed to reach agreement with landlords regarding the seven stores set for closure and these will not reopen after the current lockdown.

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Stefaan Vansteenkiste, chief executive officer of Debenhams, said: "I'm delighted with the progress we are making with our landlord discussions which reflects the pragmatic view the vast majority of them are taking of the current market conditions.

"We have agreed terms on the vast majority of our UK stores and talks are proceeding positively on the remainder, positioning us to reopen these stores when Government regulations permit.

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"Regrettably we have been unable to reach agreement on seven stores and these will not be reopening, and I'd like to express my thanks to our colleagues in these stores at what I know is a difficult time for everyone."

Last week, Debenhams said its Irish business - which runs 11 stores with around 1,400 staff - will cease trading as part of the administration.

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