Confusion over whether Debenhams Bullring store is to close
May 14, 2020
Uncertainty surrounds the future of one of Debenhams’ largest stores in the UK, which has been earmarked for closure.
The department store’s Bullring shop was one of five locations which were due to close permanently, as Debenhams revealed it was unable to agree terms with landlord Hammerson. And Hammerson had said that Next would take some of the space for its new beauty retail concept.
The announcement was met with disappointment from local shoppers. Spreading over 19,230 sq mts, the store in Birmingham is the fourth biggest Debenhams in the country.
But there are now fresh hopes that the store could be saved from permanent closure. According to media reports, staff who had been told would lose their jobs have been put back on furlough.
The retailer, which is now in administration, first opened in the Bullring in 2003 to replace its original Birmingham city centre location.
Despite the official announcement last week that the store would not reopen, local media outlets report that Debenhams is still trying to reach an agreement with Hammerson.
A Debenhams spokesman told Birmingham Mail: "The staff remain on furlough whilst we try reach an agreement with the landlord. We are continuing to do everything possible to find a solution.”
The comments raise more questions than answers. As we said, Hammerson has already committed to leasing Debenhams’ beauty hall to Next. This is part of a deal enabling Next to take over all Debenhams' beauty halls in Hammerson’s portfolio to grow its premium beauty business.
Hammerson did say it will pursue opportunities to repurpose the other floors, which means Debenhams could potentially reopen at the shopping centre in a much smaller unit.
The retailer entered administration on April 9, blaming the “unprecedented circumstances” of the coronavirus crisis for a sharp fall in sales.
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