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Gloucestershire Business News

More uncertainty for Gloucester’s flagship store

The future of Gloucester's Debenhams store continues to look uncertain, after it was revealed the retailer is already bracing itself for a difficult Christmas period.

Debenhams is lining up a £50m cash buffer from its lenders in preparation for festive trading, as reported by The Guardian. It's thought that the buffer could fund a wave of price cuts as Debenhams fights for market share in a competitive market.

The department store chain is owned by a consortium of banks and hedge funds, after falling into administration in April. It is lining up the additional funds on top of a £200m lifeline it received as part of a rescue restructuring completed in May.

Like many high street retailers, Debenhams is continuing to find trading tough, but has not yet reached the limit of its funding package. It has been reported that the retailer's lenders remain supportive of its turnaround plans.

Debenhams, which employs more than 20,000 staff, has already revealed which 22 of its 166 UK stores are set to close in January. Gloucester's store is not on the initial list, but the company plans to close 50 stores over the course of five years. It has already forced rent cuts on many of its stores as part of its survival plan.

Punchline said: "Trading is still tough on the high street, with low consumer confidence and increasing online competition from the likes of Amazon. Debenhams has been a fixture in Gloucester for longer than most of us care to remember. If you value having it in the city centre, you need to get out and use it before it is too late!"

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