Future of Hastings Debenhams store confirmed

The Hastings Debenhams store will be remaining open despite the retailer announcing plans to close 22 of its stores nationwide.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 11:31 am
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 4:38 pm
Debenhams in Hastings town centre
Debenhams in Hastings town centre

The department store chain announced the closures this morning as part of a plan to revive the business.

Debenhams says the store closures will start next year, affecting 1,200 jobs.

The Eastbourne store has been announced as one of the 22 set to close.

The list also includes stores in Ashford, Folkestone, Canterbury, Chatham, and Guildford.

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw called for urgent talks to give staff a voice in the future of the company, shortly after the announcement.

Dave Gill, Usdaw national officer, said: “This is more devastating news for staff who have been working under the threat of store closures for some time. They have been left on the side-lines as a game of corporate monopoly has been played out in the media. It is devastating news for staff in the store closures announced to today and the threat continues in every other Debenhams store.

“We again urge the company to engage with Usdaw the trade union for Debenhams staff. It’s crucial that the staff and their voice should be heard and they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We will continue to provide our members with the support and advice they need at this very difficult time.”

“Usdaw’s Save Our Shops campaign urges the Government to take urgent action to address the challenges facing retail. Three million people are employed directly in the retail sector and another 1.5 million jobs rely on the success of shops. In recent years, hundreds and thousands of jobs have been lost in retail, with large and small retailers alike closing their doors. The time for action is long overdue and we need an industrial strategy for retail.”

A message on the retailer’s customer service line is assuring customers that all gift cards will be honoured and trading is continuing as normal.

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

“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 full list of stores to close in 2020

Altrincham; Ashford; Birmingham Fort; Canterbury; Chatham; Eastbourne; Folkestone; Great Yarmouth; Guildford; Kirkcaldy; Orpington; Slough; Southport; Southsea; Staines; Stockton-on-Tees; Walton-on-Thames; Wandsworth; Welwyn Garden City; Wimbledon; Witney; and Wolverhampton.

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