Jun 19, 2019
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Debenhams to open co-working spaces in two stores

Jun 19, 2019

Debenhams is set to pilot flexible co-working spaces in its stores in Cardiff and Bristol in partnership with Nottingham-based startup Dispace.

Photo: Debenhams

The move is part of wider efforts to lure shoppers back to stores following months of weak high street footfall levels across the UK.

Debenhams is set to close 22 stores early next year, as it said the size of its property portfolio “is not appropriate for today’s much-changed retail environment”. But the troubled retailer needs to look at further measures to ensure the rest of its stores continue to perform well in today’s tough market.

Other department store chains have agreed partnerships with restaurant and cafe operators to enhance their leisure offer, and providing space for the growing freelance community could help Debenhams drive footfall and revenues in quieter times.

“Our collaboration with Debenhams will be beneficial for both users and the stores themselves; users will have fresh reasons to visit and the stores can look at broader opportunities to cater for the new influx of Dispace members,” said Ross Cox, founder of Dispace.

The partnership will see independent cafe owner Insomnia Coffee team up with Dispace in Debenhams’ branches in Cardiff and Bristol, with a view to a broader rollout across the store estate.

Sam Shutt, head of external business at Debenhams, said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with the dynamic team at Dispace and to support them with bringing to life such an innovative service.

“As well as giving our new and existing customers even more reasons to visit our stores, this is an exciting opportunity to promote our branded food partners and facilitate how a growing flexible work force wants to operate.”

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