Inside Debenhams: Huge discounts as Sheffield store reduced to jumble sale ahead of closure
Is there anything sadder in retail than a closing down sale?
Debenhams on The Moor, for so long a Sheffield retail stalwart, has been reduced to a chaotic jumble sale.
Clothes are crammed on long racks, with many items on the floor. The beauty department has been cleared out, leaving starkly empty shelves. And the top floor, cafe and toilets are closed.
Shoppers with armfuls of clothes and pulling full baskets wait in long queues for the tills.
For once, huge signs stating: ‘Everything Must Go’ tell the truth - and the funeral black carrier bags confirm it.
Debenhams on The Moor and at Meadowhall will close for good on Saturday May 15 along with all those remaining in the UK. It will be the final act in the tumultuous decline of the 242-year-old chain.
Until then, stores are offering discounts of up to 80 per cent.
Carol Ford of Grenoside said she’d picked up a knitted jacket for husband Rod originally priced at £70. When she arrived at the till she was charged just £2.
The couple have been regular visitors for 30 years. They don’t shop online and whether they increasingly shop at Meadowhall in future depends on how Sheffield city centre now fares.
She added: “We will miss it, especially for Christmas presents. I don’t know where we will shop now. It’s a long way to Meadowhall, we’ll have to see what stays open in the city centre.”
Rod added: “Debenhams was several stores in one.”
George Hoyland bought a jacket last week with 80 per cent off. But visiting today with wife Joyce, he noticed a lack of social distancing.
He added: “It’s terrible, we’ve shopped here for many years. But we will keep coming into town.”
Keziah Lamptey had bags of ladies clothes. But it wasn’t all amazing bargains and some sizes had gone.
She added: “It’s very bad about the closure - but what can you do?”
The new owners of The Moor, property company NewRiver, have suggested the building could be flattened and redeveloped.
At Meadowhall, co-owner British Land is faced with losing one of its largest stores on a wing where it hopes to build a £150m extension.
In February the administrators said all 118 stores would close and 12,000 staff would be made redundant.