Debenhams to close its York city centre store before Christmas

The former Debenhams store on Davygate is empty. Photographs: Richard McDougall
17 Oct 2019 @ 6.10 pm
| Business, Shopping

Another big name is disappearing from York city centre.

There will be disappointment but little surprise that Debenhams on Davygate is to close its doors for good in December.

The department store says the decision was forced upon it when the landlord took back the property – and YorkMix understands that the building has been sold to an investment company.

But the company had been planning to shut 20 stores as part of a survival package.

It is another blow to Davygate. Once one of York’s top shopping streets with a waiting list of stores wanting to move in, it has been hit by a series of closures recently.

Only a few days ago Gap closed its branch, while French Connection has also left the street. The Halifax bank branch has still not been re-let since closing in April 2018.

Crippling business rates

Struggling – Davygate. Photograph: YorkMix
Only last month Debenhams said it was moving forward with a rescue plan involving the closure of more than 20 stores after fighting off a challenge from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct group.

But a spokesperson for Debenhams said they had hoped to keep the York city centre branch open:

  • Regrettably our Davygate store will close in December following the decision by the landlord to take back the site.

    We had hoped to keep the store open but the landlord has decided to use the space for other purposes. We are keeping our colleagues and customers informed and thank them for their understanding.

    The nearest Debenhams store will now be at Monks Cross.

It will shut on 19 December.

Chairman of York Retail Forum Phil Pinder said: “This will be another sad loss to the city centre.

“The crippling business rates continue to affect our high street.”

It is likely that another retail gap will appear on Davygate soon, as Sports Direct moves into a big development in the BHS building.