Coronavirus: Debenhams and Arcadia in talks with landlords over store closures
Major high street retailers including Debenhams and Topshop owner Arcadia are negotiating with landlords over whether stores will reopen after the coronavirus lockdown ends.
All non-essential retailers were ordered to close when the government implemented restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus last month.
However, some stores will not reopen when the lockdown is relaxed due to the impact of the drop in sales.
Debenhams, which entered administration earlier this month for the second time in a year, will permanently close seven stores, including the Shepherd’s Bush Westfield branch.
Stores in Truro, Stratford-upon-Avon, Salisbury, Warrington, Leamington Spa and South Shields will also not reopen, affecting 422 jobs.
Plans for 28 site closures agreed in last year’s company voluntary arrangement will go ahead.
The department store chain has agreed terms with landlords to keep 120 of its 142 UK branches open. Talks are ongoing over the rest of its portfolio and the retailer plans to have more than 100 stores in the UK.
Debenhams chief executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste said: “‘I’m delighted with the progress we are making with our landlord discussions which reflects the pragmatic view the vast majority of them are taking of the current market conditions.”
Meanwhile, Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire, which owns brands including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, has reportedly served notice on stores with lease breaks or that are due to expire.
The move does not necessarily mean the branches will close, but Arcadia will enter into negotiations with landlords, according to reports.