// More than half of Debenhams former stores remain empty as high streets struggle to fill the void
// Currently, only 27% of these vacant units have future use plans
Despite May marking the two-year anniversary since the British department store shuttered, 73% of former Debenhams units remain empty.
According to recent data from EG, only 27% of these locations have future use plans with the majority of vacant stores (20) based in the South East, followed by North East England (16) and Scotland (14).
Twenty seven others have been taken over by the likes of Marks & Spencer and The Range.
The historic retailer revealed the final closure of its 124 stores back in May 2021, shutting the door on over 200 years of trade on UK high streets.
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EG Head of Researched Data Jonathan Tomlinson said: “At its height, Debenhams operated 150 stores, but the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns dealt the retailer a hammering blow. Boohoo acquired Debenhams in 2021, but the fast fashion chain had no use for its brick-and-mortar outlets, trading the brand as a solely online store.”
Tomlinson added that they are seeing plans for mixed development, including retail and residential, as single occupiers struggle to justify rent on premises of that size.
“We’ve seen applications approved for the conversion of former stores into studio apartments, luxury hotels and even a university campus, with work underway at the former site in Gloucester to build a new £60m campus.
“However, now two years on since the doors closed, many Debenhams stores still remain vacant with no development plans in place.”