Lichfield’s retail landscape has been dealt another blow over fears Debenhams could be the next big high street name to close.

Talks with JD Sports to take over the business have ended without a sale being agreed.

In a statement, Debenhams said administrators “regretfully concluded that they should commence a wind-down of Debenhams UK”.

Administrator Geoff Rowley said:

“All reasonable steps were taken to complete a transaction that would secure the future of Debenhams.

“However, the economic landscape is extremely challenging and, coupled with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry, a viable deal could not be reached.

“The decision to move forward with a closure programme has been carefully assessed and, while we remain hopeful that alternative proposals for the business may yet be received, we deeply regret that circumstances force us to commence this course of action.

“We would like to thank the landlords, suppliers and partners who have continued to work with Debenhams through this turbulent period and can reassure them that all contractual obligations entered into in the administration period will be met in full.”

Geoff Rowley

Debenhams said it would continue to trade in order to “clear its current and contracted stocks”.

If no buyer is found by the time this process is completed, all stores would then shut.

The news comes a day after the future of Lichfield’s Dorothy Perkins outlet was thrown into doubt after owner Arcadia Group entered administration.

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6 Comments

  1. As per my initial comment on “Future of clothing chain with store in Lichfield in doubt as plans to appoint administrators are revealed”, there are a number on Lichfield city shops that are going to be lost.

    We can’t deny that the move to online shopping has quicken pace during lockdown. All these clothing retailers and travel agent officers were eventually going to move to an online-base at some point. However, these closures will leave a mark within Lichfield centre. I would just hope people start looking forward to a newer vision of Lichfield, rather than focus on open-market, business decisions.

    Perhaps we need to be asking the question sooner rather than later of; what do we want Lichfield to be like in 5, 10, 20 years? If retail does not return, what could potentially fill its place? Do the demographics of the city need to be taken into account? Do we wish to compete with Cannock’s new shopping centre?

  2. The high street is failing. Even the most tech-wary people have been forced to switch to online shopping during the lockdown. Shopping habits have changed forever.

    Add in the high business rates, parking costs and traffic – more stores will sadly close.

  3. Lichfield will be empty of shops soon. The council need to think of a way to attract independent shops and none chains to the city with attractive rates. We could become a fully independent destination given the right support

  4. I wonder Ross if there is a formula for a successful high street. The current situation has been hastened by Coronavirus but in reality has been waiting in the wings even prior to Friasgate.
    A vibrant shopping place needs people with disposable income and attractive shops. With ever increasing unemployment and the demise of a succession of shops, including chain stores, both these requisites are now lacking. It is all too easy to put it down to the internet, but that is only part of the story.
    What can the council do? Not renowned for rate reductions and a diminishing income from existing shops. What is there to attract new ‘independent’ shops?
    The hospitality and eateries are the first to suffer in a depression. Lichfield is already in this position. With the payback for the cost of Coronavirus the recovery (when it starts!) is likely to be protracted and painful.

  5. I understand that business rates are set by central government, not the council – so there is little the council can do on that front. There are other things they could do to make coming into the city to shop more attractive however – but they will all cost money which will have to be recovered somehow. Parking charges are one thought, but in the current climate I’m not sure there is much to be done. Once restrictions are lifted and people can be attracted to the centre for more leisure based activities then maybe then opportunities could arise.

  6. I’m afraid Lichfield has been falling behind for years, having been born in,Lichfield has relied on too many pubs and the cathedral , where look at Tamworth now Cannock ,good shopping and trying to get more jobs snooty Lichfield folk deserve what they get!!

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