A heartfelt letter from a loyal customer reveals just how much the once-thriving department store on The Moor meant to many of those who shopped there.
Sughra Begum was moved to write to The Star after the shop closed earlier this month along with remaining branches across the UK.
Describing the final day of trading on Saturday, May 15 as ‘the saddest day for the customers, staff and the retail world’, she explained how she had been shopping in what she called ‘the Harrods of the North’ since arriving in England in 1969.
“Debenhams had a different culture and feel because the minute you stepped inside the department store and saw the perfume, the make-up and the jewellery counters you were transported into having a great shopping experience compared to other department stores,” she wrote.
“I have shopped and been a loyal customer of Debenhams until the last day.
“However, the thought of not being able to get quality clothing, shoes, handbags and homeware as well as beauty products with genuine ‘sale’ opportunities under one roof is unimaginable.
“In the obsession to buy before it closed down and grab a bargain or two, I bought dresses, jackets, shoes, pans, bedding and the most obscure was sandpaper for 41p and Christmas socks at 20p.
“I would like to sincerely thank all the people who made Debenhams the iconic store it was and offer immense gratitude to the staff who put on a smile until the last moment when the store closed.
“This was the end of an era, an enjoyable retail experience which guaranteed to fulfil your desire for retail therapy.”
Debenhams, which employed more than 20,000 people before the pandemic, sold its brand and website to online giant Boohoo for £55 million in January but confirmed its bricks and mortar business would close for good.
Earlier this year, NewRiver, which snapped up The Moor for £41 million, announced that the Debenhams building could be demolished as part of plans to build 1,400 flats on the premier shopping street.