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Debenhams’ remaining stores to close for the final time as COVID shutdown ends more than 240 years of retail history

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Debenhams stores across the UK will shut their doors for the final time later, bringing more than 240 years of retail history to an end.

The department store chain, a staple of high streets since 1778, will close its remaining 28 stores for good on Saturday after the company collapsed amid the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It closed 21 of its sites across the UK for the final time on Thursday.

The retailer was already struggling before the coronavirus outbreak, as shoppers moved away from traditional department store models and moved online.

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Debenhams has been a staple of British high streets for more than 240 years

But it could not cope with the enforced closure of sites during lockdown and quickly went into administration within weeks of the virus fully hitting the UK.

The company, which began life as a high end draper in London’s West End, started its liquidation process at the start of this year after failing to secure a rescue sale.

Debenhams, which employed more than 20,000 people before the pandemic, reopened sites from 12 April after the reopening of essential retail in order to clear stock across its stores.

Administrators sold the brand to online-only player Boohoo for £55m back in January but confirmed its bricks and mortar business would close for good.

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