WITH Debenhams now in administration why has our love affair with department stores and the high street gone so wrong?
Marks and Spencer has struggled for years and has closed many stores over the last year or so, House of Fraser has just announced it intends to close 31 shops, affecting 6,000 jobs, as part of a rescue deal. Debenhams is planning to shut stores as profits fall and BHS spectacularly collapsed in 2016, putting 11,000 people out of work.
Debenhams, which has 176 UK stores, has said it could close 10 outlets and is in talks with landlords about reducing space at 30 more. And House of Fraser, which had 59 stores, is now planning to close more than half of them.
What will happen to this space in the future; more apartments?
Are these department stores finally out of fashion and being over run by the cheaper stores and online giants such as ASOS, Primark and the supermarkets who now all sell clothes, bags, shoes and makeup.
Their unique selling point for years, which was stocking lots of different brands under one roof, has been overtaken by the internet.
Downsizing isn’t easy, however. Many of these department stores are locked in very long leases of 30, 40, even 50 years. I hope these stores find a solution to this problem and save the jobs.