Debenhams shuts final stores today after almost 250 years on the high street

High street staple Debenhams shuts its doors for the final time today (May 15), marking the end of its 243-year British high street trading history.

The last of Debenhams 28 stores across the UK shut on Saturday, just over a year after the retailer announced the company collapsed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Debenhams began the liquidation process at the stat of 2021 after it sold its brand and website to online giant BooHoo for £55m.

The company's 118 physical Debenhams stores, and their 12,000 employees, were not part of the deal, putting thousands of people out of work at a crucial time.

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Bosses reopened 97 of its English stores on April 12 when non-essential retail restarted under Boris' lockdown roadmap in a bid to clear stock before closure.

Some locations were forced to shut for good, such as Taunton and Newbury, as early as May 2.

Several more physical Debenhams stores then ceased trading on May 4, including locations like Walsall and Winchester.

May 15 marks the final day any sites will remain open, with 28 shops set to close forever.

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The retailer did not reopen any of its 15 stores in Scotland following the coronavirus lockdown, some of which have already been replaced.

Debenhams may have been a high street staple but the store had suffered slumping sales in recent years as shoppers switched from the high street to online.

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Coronavirus was the final straw from the company, and it fell into administration within weeks of the first national lockdown.

The business may have been one of the first to go into administration, but several other high street giants followed.

Sir Philip Green Arcadia Group, which owned the likes of Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Miss Selfridge, collapsed.

Peacocks and Jaeger also fell into administration after failing to find a buyer, as well as Bon Marche and Harvey Furniture.

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