Huge queues outside Debenhams as shoppers turn out for final closing down sale at Sunderland store
Sunderland shoppers lined up outside Debenhams as the department store opens for a few final weeks before the brand leaves the high street for good.
In January it was confirmed that the 242-year-old Debenhams brand and website had been bought by online fashion retailer Boohoo for £55million.
But despite the department store giant’s name surviving, the companies remaining 118 stores across the country will close their doors for the last time – which will result in around 12,000 job losses.
On Monday, April 12, the store joined other non-essential retailers in reopening for its final closing down sale – with up to 70% off fashion and home products and up to 50% off beauty and fragrance lines.
A huge queue of shoppers line up as they visit the store for what could be their last time.
Gillian Kirtley, 69, and 41-year-old Lisa Prescott were among those in the queue and the pair had got chatting while they waited on Monday morning.
Both spoke to the Echo about how it will be sad to see the department store close.
"It is going to be hard," said Gillian. "If we don't have a big store, I don't know what will happen to Sunderland."
While Lisa thought the closure would be a real blow to the city centre, saying: "Everybody already goes to Newcastle and the MetroCentre.”
The Sunderland store, in The Bridges, will be opening as part of the final stock liquidation process and will continue to trade for a number of weeks until stock in the stores has been fully cleared.
Stores will begin closing permanently from May 2 and with stock clearance due to be completed and final stores expected to close by May 15.
All Debenhams stores have been made Covid-secure, with appropriate hygiene and social distancing measures in place.
A spokesperson for Debenhams said ahead of the reopening: “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.”