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End of an era for Debenhams as final shops close

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Debenhams has announced it will shut its remaining stores by 15 May, closing the door on more than 200 years of trade on UK high streets.

The department store chain said it would shutter 49 shops by next weekend.

The Debenhams brand will continue online after being bought by retailer Boohoo for £55m in January.

The company traces its roots back to 1778 when William Clark opened a shop in London’s West End, selling fabrics, bonnets and parasols.

In 1813, William Debenham invested in the firm and it was renamed Clark & Debenham.

Debenhams has already announced that 52 shops will close on 8 May. The remaining sites will shut on either 12 May or 15 May. Some 12,000 workers will lose their jobs.

Like other retailers, Debenhams struggled during the Covid pandemic as non-essential stores were forced to close during lockdown.

However, the company – once the UK’s largest department store chain – had been experiencing problems prior to the crisis with record losses, high levels of debt and property costs.

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