Debenhams in the Drapery has reopened this morning (Monday) to sell off its final stock before closure.
More than 100 people were seen queuing outside the huge department store ahead of the 9.30am opening as non-essential retail opens up again after months in lockdown.
Last week the national chain confirmed the Drapery store in Northampton town centre would be one of many stores in the country reopening today to complete its final closing down sale.
Two ladies in the queue, Cheryl Breed and Jane Taylor, spoke to the Chron about the difference it makes to meet and speak to people while shopping. In fact, they only met that morning in the queue.
Cheryl said: "It's great to be able to go to the shops again and talk to people again.
"I've been a fan of Debenhams for a long time. It's a sad day. It's been around for forever and it's another store Northampton has lost.
"You can't get this experience online where you can touch what you're buying and speak to people.
"We've lost Marks and Spencer, BHs, House of Fraiser, and now Debenhams.
"It's now all pound shops, charity shops and cafes. We need to bring people in to see a beautiful town, and Northampton is a beautiful town."
Cheryl said about the queue: "It reminds me of watching telly in the 60s on Boxing Day and seeing the sales, when you had hundreds of people queuing up for a fur coat."
The Debenhams sale included huge discounts with 50 per cent off menswear, lingerie and womenswear, with 15% off fragrance and 30% off Burton.
Victoria Byrne said she was worried about what towns will look like for the future generation.
She said: "It's good to see people queuing up today but Debenhams have been that for a really long time.
"We need to keep coming out into town to keep the shops open, to make sure there are jobs for the younger generation. "You don't just come into town to wander, you come to have a natter and meet people."
The stores are reopening as part of Debenham's final stock liquidation process and will continue to trade for a limited number of weeks until the remaining stock in the stores is fully cleared.
A spokesperson for Debenhams said: “This is the last chance for customers in England and Wales to visit their local Debenhams before sadly our stores close for good. We will be reopening with a fantastic range of offers and discounts across all of our customers’ favourite brands and products.
"Stocks are limited and expected to sell out quickly so customers should visit their nearest store quickly to avoid disappointment. We are very grateful for the efforts of our staff who have worked so hard throughout the most difficult of circumstances to keep the business trading”.
Debenhams stores across England and Wales will start to close permanently from May 2 with the stock clearance completed and final stores expected to close by May 15.
All stores have been made Covid-secure, with appropriate hygiene and social distancing measures in place, the spokesperson said.