Sunderland Debenhams store safe as planned closure list announced

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Sunderland's Debenhams store is safe after the company's new owners announced plans for 22 closures, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

The company went into administration earlier this month, with its lenders taking control of the department store chain.

The North East faces losing only one store, its Stockton branch, under the closure plans.

The 22 stores earmarked for closure are: Altrincham, Ashford, Birmingham Fort, Canterbury, Chatham, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Great Yarmouth, Guildford, Kirkcaldy, Orpington, Slough, Southport, Southsea, Staines, Stockton, Walton, Wandsworth, Welwyn Garden City, Wimbledon, Witney, Wolverhampton.

Sunderland Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Niall Hodson, who represents the Millfield ward which takes in part of the city centre, said: "This news is a huge relief for Sunderland.

"Debenhams is the only large department store left in Sunderland and is at the heart of our city centre shopping offer.

“If Debenhams had closed it would have been devastating - leaving a huge retail unit empty in the heart of the city centre."