Debenhams closure would be a huge dent to Worthing economy

Potentially really bad news for Worthing last week, with the news Debenhams was planning to shut up to 50 stores after profits plummeted in the last year.

Friday, 2nd November 2018, 12:14 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd November 2018, 1:16 pm

As yet, the locations of the closures haven’t been named, but having lost BHS and Woolworths in recent memory, losing Debenhams is something Worthing town centre could really do without.

For all their detractors, Worthing does miss both BHS and Woollies.

In fact, at the time of the Woolworths’ collapse, there was a rescue plan for the retailer which would have seen the profitable stores survive under a new company structure.

Debenhams in South Street, Worthing SUS-181025-112443001

I’m told that both Montague Street and Broadwater were on the list of stores that made money, but one of the biggest factors the group fell down on was that they did not own their freeholds.

Could that could be a big factor with Worthing’s Debenhams? Does the company own the freehold? I know it was previously Hubbards but when they took it over did they buy or rent?

It is a relatively busy shop, which I’m sure taking high street rent out of the equation might work in its favour, but on the flip side 50 stores is a lot. Ultimately, it would be a huge dent in the local economy if it were to shut, and a huge blow for the hard-working staff, too.

Ian Hart

But what if the worst-case scenario happened and it were to close? Retail-wise, only Primark springs to mind as a company large enough to move into a store that big, and please not a 99p superstore!

If we do end up with one of the biggest shops empty, might it be time for the council to have a drastic rethink?

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