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British retailer Debenhams closes final UK stores after 240 years of trading

May 16, 2021

High street chain went into liquidation after Covid lockdown

Retailer Debenhams is closing its doors for good on Saturday, after 242 years of trading on the British high street.

The struggling department store chain, founded in London in 1778, started a liquidation process last December after Covid-19 lockdowns dealt a final blow to its finances.

Debenhams said earlier this month that its remaining 28 stores would close on May 15, after shutting 21 sites across the UK on Thursday.

These included stores in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Swansea.

It had been holding closing down sales, offering up to 80 per cent off fashion and homeware.

'Over the next 10 days, Debenhams will close its doors on the high street for the final time in its 242 year history,' the company said on May 5.

'We hope to see you all one last time in stores before we say a final goodbye to the UK high street.'

The retailer suffered lacklustre sales in recent years, as shoppers moved away from traditional department store to online buying.

However, the enforced closure of sites during the pandemic resulted in Debenhams falling into administration.

The company then started its liquidation process at the start of this year, after failing to secure a rescue sale.

While Debenhams physical presence in the UK will die, the brand will live on.

In January, online fashion retailer Boohoo purchased the Debenhams brand out of administration for £55 million.