Debenhams in Kirkcaldy is likely to close after Christmas and definitely by January 24 2020.
The news was released during candid talks between Debenhams bosses, Lesley Laird MP and Fife Council regarding closure impact on the store’s employees.
Debenhams, which has a 275-year history and employs 25,000 people, found itself in difficulty after amassing £500m debts.
A significant £200m refinancing deal prompted restructuring plans which earmarked 30 plus stores, including Kirkcaldy, for closure.
Mrs Laird, Labour MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “Alongside Councillor Altany Craik, economy convener, and Fife Council senior officials, I spoke with Farouk Mangera, head of HR, and Clive Bentley, property director, who explained the reasons why Kirkcaldy was listed.
“They made it clear the store was struggling due to low footfall which couldn’t offset overheads, including rent and rates. The lease was also due to expire in 2021.
“The store currently employs 23 people, nine of whom work full time, and I’ve been assured that all efforts are being made to ring-fence vacancies for staff at other Debenhams stores, including Dunfermline.
“In addition, the company has enlisted the help of agencies such as Skills Development Scotland and the Retail Trust to offer staff support, including pension advice.”
She added: “Conditions are tough for all major high street retailers as they grapple with online shopping trends, and Debenhams had reached crunch point.
“While incredibly disappointing, the reasons which led to the decision to close in Kirkcaldy – likely after Christmas and certainly by January 24 next year – are hard to dispute.
“Nevertheless, this represents yet another significant blow for Kirkcaldy High Street and all key stakeholders must redouble efforts together to turn the town centre’s fortunes around.”
Mr Craik added: “While disappointed at the announcement to close Kirkcaldy, it is important that the company ensures that the staff are given every opportunity to find posts at other stores.
“Retail is changing and, sadly, shopping habits have hit stores like Debenhams hard. It is vital that we work together to find new tenants for the unit on the High Street in Kirkcaldy and continue our efforts to make Kirkcaldy High Street a great place to visit for leisure and retail.”