Future of Debenhams' Northampton store still in the balance as chain shuts seven shops

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Struggling company pressing ahead with plans to close more sites after lockdown ends

Debenhams is keeping mum over the future of its Northampton department store after calling in administrators earlier this month.

The Drapery site did not appear on a list of seven sites the struggling chain says will not reopen once the Covid-19 lockdown ends.

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Bosses at the 242-year-old fashion, beauty and homeware business say they have agreed deals with landlords to keep 120 of its 135 remaining branches trading and is in "advanced" talks about the rest.

But they are is pressing ahead with previously announced plans to shutter more stores this year and have not identified which shops are under threat.

Chief executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste said: "I'm delighted with the progress we are making with our landlord discussions, which reflects the pragmatic view the vast majority of them are taking of the current market conditions.

"We have agreed terms on the vast majority of our UK stores and talks are proceeding positively on the remainder, positioning us to reopen these stores when government regulations permit.

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"Regrettably we have been unable to reach agreement on seven stores and these will not be reopening. I'd like to express my thanks to our colleagues in these stores at what I know is a difficult time for everyone."

Debenhams staff in Northampton are still waiting to hear if their store will re-openDebenhams staff in Northampton are still waiting to hear if their store will re-open
Debenhams staff in Northampton are still waiting to hear if their store will re-open

Stores at Leamington, Stratford-upon-Avon, Westfield in west London, Warrington, Salisbury, South Shields and Truro will not reopen.

Another 22 sites closed in January under a rescue deal to shut 50 stores struck with creditors when Debenhams was close to collapsing 12 months ago. The remaining 28 closures are still due to go ahead but some of those closing may be on the latest list of seven.

The retailer is still trading online while its shops are closed although the majority of Debenhams furloughed most of its 22,000 staff nationwide after the Government-mandated lockdown on March 23.

Debenhams' name has been a feature of Northampton town centre since 1973 when it rebranded the Adnitt Brothers store it bought in 1952.

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