Debenhams closure: The final goodbye as Northampton's historical department store prepares for its last day of trading in the town
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Northampton's will no longer have a department store from tomorrow (Sunday) as Debenhams is due to close its doors for the final time today (Saturday).
The high street giant has been a fixture in the town centre since 1952 after taking over the Adnitt Brothers store in the Drapery and rebranding it in 1973.
But the 243-year-old firm is shutting down after being bought by online retailer Boohoo in January having been in administration since April 2020.
Long queues formed outside the Drapery branch when it reopened for a closing down sale after the coronavirus lockdown on April 12.
A Debenhams spokesperson said ahead of the reopening: "Shoppers will find unmissable discounts, including up to 80 per cent off fashion and home and at least 50 per cent off everything across the store, including beauty and fragrance."
Debenhams' closure is another blow to Northampton town centre having already lost major names such as BHS, Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer in recent months and years.
What will happen to the building?
A planning application was submitted to the council in February to convert the three-storey building into 201 student flats by developer Zone.
The block would include a central courtyard by demolishing part of the store as well as a retail unit, bicycle and bin storage, entertainment rooms, a lounge, a gym, a laundry room, study spaces and rooftop terraces.
One person who commented on the application thought it was a good idea while another opposed it because they think it should remain a space for retail.
"There are no worthwhile shops to encourage me into town and I have lived her all my life," they wrote.
The deadline for comments was on April 29 with a decision from West Northamptonshire Council expected in the coming months.
What happened to Debenhams?
In April last year, a month into the Covid lockdown, Debenhams called in administrators and started to close down stores across the UK.
At the time, Northampton was not on the initial list but Debenhams started to wind down the store towards the end of the year.
JD Sports was understood to be in pole position to buy the beleaguered retailer but in December, the sportswear firm pulled due its parent company, Arcadia, going into administration.
In the end, Boohoo acquired Debenhams and its associated brands for £55 million but all bricks and mortar stores will close and 12,000 jobs lost nationally.