What Derby shoppers would like to see replace city’s Debenhams store

Derby shoppers have had their say on what they would like to see replace the city centre’s soon-to-be vacant Debenhams store.

Last week, it was announced that the iconic retail chain’s 118 department stores across the UK are to close, including the branch at the recently renamed Derbion.

Spanning over three floors, Debenhams has been one of the shopping centre’s flagship stores since it opened as Westfield back in 2007.

But with the department store, which first opened in Derby on the corner of Green Lane and Victoria Street in the 1970s, leaving the city, attention has now turned to what will replace it.

Derbyshire Live asked its readers on Facebook to get in touch with suggestions for an alternative use for the vast unit.

More than 500 people responded, with by far the most popular response being John Lewis, which already has stores in the nearby cities of Leicester and Nottingham.

Nearly 70 people said they would like to see the retail giant come to the city.

Another popular response was Primark, which already has a store in Derby’s Cornmarket, getting nearly 40 mentions.

Among those commenting was Claire Peet, who said: “I’d love to see a John Lewis, but I’d think Primark would be the obvious one.”

Georgie Clarke-Stanley said: “Primark should move. They usually have big stores and it is always a massive footfall-enticer to shopping complexes.”

While Louise Askew said: “Primark would bring footfall in, but rather have a John Lewis dept store.”

Other suggestions included high-end department store Selfridges, with more than 20 votes, and homestore B&M, with eight mentions.

Adam Tamsett, general manager at Derbion, said: “We are continually in discussions with existing tenants as well as potential new occupiers interested in joining the line-up at Derbion.

“We are unable to comment on individual retailers and partners, but look forward to updating our customers with news about our exciting offering at the centre in due course.”

Last week, online fashion retailer Boohoo confirmed it has bought the Debenhams brand for £55 million and will relaunch the department store as an online-only operation from next year.

The deal to keep the brand alive will see Debenhams products sold by Boohoo from early next year, allowing enough time for liquidators to continue closing the retailer’s sites once they are allowed to reopen after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

It looks unlikely that many of the remaining 12,000 jobs across the company will be saved.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator for Debenhams and partner of FRP Advisory, said: “We are pleased to have secured the future for this great brand, and to have created the opportunity for a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge in a different shape beyond the pandemic.

“I expect that the agreement with Boohoo may provide some job opportunities but we regret that this outcome does not safeguard the jobs of Debenhams’ employees beyond the winding-down period.”

Courtesy of Derbyshire Live – Derby News