Debenhams unable to say if Northampton branch will close as troubled chain plans to axe stores

Debenhams has been unable to confirm the fate of the Northampton store in the Drapery.
Debenhams has been unable to confirm the fate of the Northampton store in the Drapery.

Troubled high-street retailer Debenhams has been unable to confirm if its Northampton store will be closed down.

The struggling 205-year-old department store chain announced this week it was considering shutting up to 50 stores - putting 4,000 jobs at risk - in a drastic bid to manage debts.

Today, the retailer was unable to confirm if the Northampton store in the Drapery would be shutting its doors, despite rumours that the decision would be today (October 25) when it presented its annual results.

A spokeswoman told the Chronicle & Echo that any moves to close stores would be part of a "three to five-year plan" and said a definite list will not be coming "any time soon".

It comes after the Marks & Spencer store in Abington Street shut its doors in August this year, just years after neighbouring BHS closed overnight.

Northampton Borough Council Arthur McCutcheon - who also sits on the planning committee - said: "I don't want to talk melodramatically and call losing Debenhams a disaster - but it would be a bad result.

"[If we lost Debenhams] I would say the town would feel abandoned. There was a feeling of abandonment when Marks & Spencer left.

"But I would say it's an opportunity for small-scale but comparative shopping in Northampton for items like shoes, clothing and retail to take its place.

"We need to think if we're going to lose Debenhams, well, what can we do next?

"What can we [the borough council] do to help produce more comparative shopping in the town?"

Debenhams currently has 166 stores and has more than 20,000 employees.