Leeds shoppers react as Debenhams announces store closures in city

Leeds shoppers have shared their shock and sadness at news the Briggate and White Rose Shopping Centre stores will close permanently after the brand was purchased by online fashion retailer Boohoo.

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 1:02 pm

Boohoo bought the Debenhams brand and website in a £55 million deal that will see them continue to sell Debenhams products, but only online.

Yesterday users took to social media to air their frustration at the stores closing for good.

Many felt it signalled the death of the high street.

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Leeds shoppers react as Debenhams announces store closures in city

Guy Moxon suggested shoppers needed to act: “Support your local shops. Save our shops from closing down. Leeds will become a ghost town, sad to see so many shops closed already due to lockdowns and the pandemic.”

Boohoo said the deal is a “fantastic opportunity,” but many shoppers worried for the 12,000 staff who work at the company’s remaining 118 stores.

Linda Ramsden said: “This is so upsetting for all the staff who will lose their jobs and livelihoods. Also for the many people who loved shopping in Debenhams (I’m one of them).

"Sad news today.”

Some customers will miss the experience of shopping over the counter. Sue Barfield said: “Devastating – another long-established name gone. I shopped there frequently and do not like or want to shop online.”

Judith Stones also said shopping online wasn’t the same: “I like to see and examine what I buy, plus try on clothing and shoes. It’s part of the shopping experience that I will miss.”

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator for Debenhams, said: “We are pleased to have created the opportunity for a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge in a different shape beyond the pandemic.”

Mr Rowley also said he couldn’t guarantee the safeguarding of employees’ jobs beyond the winding-down period.

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