Jan 13, 2021

Debenhams axes Oxford Street flagship as it closes more stores

Debenhams' flagship Oxford Street store is one of six that will not reopen once the current round of Covid-19 restrictions are eased, as hopes fade for a rescue of the UK department store group. "While it remains our intention to reopen as many stores as possible to complete the stock liquidation . . . the announcement of a renewed national lockdown last week means that a number of stores where we have been unable to agree lease extensions will be permanently closed," they added. Staff in Debenhams' corporate headquarters, which it relocated to offices above the Oxford Street store in 2019 as it tried to reduce costs, will continue to work from home "For the time being". Mike Ashley's Frasers Group has made clear its interest in parts of Debenhams, but it already has a flagship House of Fraser next door on Oxford Street and large Flannels and Sports Direct stores elsewhere on the same road. The closure of the Oxford Street unit will leave a big gap on London's premier shopping thoroughfare. Topshop's flagship store on Oxford Circus could also close if the administrators for Philip Green's Arcadia fashion empire fail to find a buyer, or if an acquirer cannot agree new lease terms.

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