Debenhams White Rose shelves stripped bare as shutters go down for final time

Staff and shoppers at the White Rose waved goodbye to Debenhams for the final time on Saturday.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 1:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:08 pm

Debenhams workers clapped and cheered as the shutters came down on the store, which opened at White Rose in March 1997.

The department store on Briggate closed on Saturday, May 8.

The well-loved chain, which was over 200 years old, went bust at the end of last year, but the Debenhams brand will continue online after being bought by retailer Boohoo for £55m in January.

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The shutters go down at Debenhams White Rose for the final time.

White Rose store manager Sara Mutter said it had been an "emotional" day.

The mum-of-two had been working for Debenhams for 11 years and had been store manager at White Rose since 2017.

She said: "I had colleagues with me there who had been with us since the day the store opened, so it was totally emotional for them.

"It is sad, and there was also us wanting a bit of closure for ourselves.

The Debenhams White Rose store was stripped bare.

"I am super proud of the team. We all managed to have a laugh and keep smiles on our faces until the last minute and yes, there were some tears at the end, but it's just been a pleasure."

Sara, 44, said the store was left bare after a last-day rush from shoppers.

"We opened the doors and people rushed in. There was literally people running down the stairs with baskets ready to fill.

"We didn't have a lot of stock left on the last day, only about ten rails and no health and beauty - most of the bargains had been had by that point."

Sara Mutter, second from left, with her team.

The shutters finally came down at 1.30pm.

Sara added: "That was because the shelves were bare - there was nothing left.

"It's really sad but I'm also immensely proud that me and my team saw it till the end.

"I was proud to be there on the last day when the shutter went down."

The White Rose Debenhams team on the store's final day.

When Sara, of Selby, first started in 2017, there were 400 people working at White Rose Debenhams, but that had dropped to just 66 by the time of the closure.

Sara had worked at seven different Debenhams across Yorkshire and beyond.

She added: "It's the people I will miss most, my team - the people you see every day who are part of your life.

"I also think there's going to be a big chunk missing from the high street. A lot of people think the department store's had its day, but we had a lot of very sad customers over the last few weeks."

Sara said that while she felt there had been a "natural decline" of Debenhams' fortunes over the years, White Rose was still making good money.

She added: "That's the crazy thing. The White Rose - as a flagship for the business - was still turning over a lot of money, we had a fantastic December and even over lockdown.

"The amount of money in the online business was still quite phenomenal - that's why it's so difficult to accept in some ways.

"It's just an unfortunate set of circumstances and unfortunately Covid was the last straw really."

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