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‘Significant blow to retail in Dundee’: Overgate searches for Debenhams replacement

Debenhams at Overgate Shopping Centre, Dundee.
Debenhams at Overgate Shopping Centre, Dundee.

Overgate Shopping Centre is in talks with retailers interested in taking over the Debenhams space.

It was announced today that online fashion giant Boohoo had purchased the department store from administration.

But the deal does not include any of the Debenhams workers or its remaining 118 stores.

Flagship Overgate shop

Debenhams is one of the flagship stores within Dundee’s Overgate Shopping Centre, occupying two levels.

Debenhams in the Overgate Shoping Centre in Dundee.

A closing down sale has been under way since Debenhams entered administration in December.

But there were hopes a buyer would take over the store estate.

Significant blow

Tom Williams, fund manager, Legal & General Investment Management, which owns the Overgate, expressed his disappointment at the news.

He said: “Overgate is saddened to hear of the imminent closure of the Debenhams store.

“This is a significant blow to the retail provision in Dundee.

Debenhams in Dundee

“Our thoughts are very much with the dedicated team of staff who have worked so hard throughout these challenging times to deliver great customer service.”

Conversations on-going

Last April talks with Debenhams saw the department store commit to remaining in Overgate until January 2022.

But all the chain’s shops are now expected to close by the end of March.

Mr Williams said Overgate was already in talks with prospective new tenants.

“Overgate remains committed to delivering alternative occupiers for the Debenhams space as soon as possible,” he added.

The new Debenhams building emerging from the scaffolding as work progresses on the Overgate in 1999.

“Conversations are on-going with potential occupiers but at this point in time no agreements have been reached.”

Boohoo deal

Online fashion retailer Boohoo has bought the Debenhams brand and website from administration for £55 million.

But while the department store’s name will survive all the company’s remaining 118 stores close for good.

It means that 12,000 jobs will be lost UK wide.

Debenhams, Perth High Street

Debenhams also operates from Perth’s High Street and Kingsgate Shopping Centre in Fife in Courier Country.

The deal will see Debenhams products sold by Boohoo from early next year.

This will allow enough time for liquidators to continue closing the retailer’s sites once they are allowed to reopen after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Debenhams’ own fashion brands will also be absorbed into Boohoo’s current portfolio and sold via the Debenhams website.

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