Grand opening date is given for new Debenhams

The site Debenhams new store in Fareham Shopping Centre.
The site Debenhams new store in Fareham Shopping Centre.

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AN OPENING date has been set for a Fareham’s new Debenhams store.

The 28,000 sq ft shop in Fareham Shopping Centre will open its doors on Thursday, June 16 – more than two years late.

The retailing giant had pulled out of plans to open in the same spot when its deal with the shopping centre collapsed in March 2009.

When that deal broke down, work was so far advanced that fixtures and fittings had already been installed.

But after a high court case, the two sides have patched up their differences.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘I’m extremely proud of the fact that Fareham as a market town meets the needs of a large store such as Debenhams to bring in such an exciting department store.

‘The fact that so many local jobs have been created is superb for the economy with some of the staff welcoming a position closer to home.

‘I look forward to Debenhams opening to the public in June.’

As reported in The News, last month 1,500 people also applied for 50 jobs on offer in the store.

Andrew Birt, the new store’s manager, said: ‘With just a couple of months to go the countdown is really on, and our feet won’t touch the ground between now and June.

‘Every stage of the development has been exciting but this is a huge milestone and finally everything feels real.

‘We’re in the process of training our local store team and then it will be all systems go to transform our blank canvas into a beautiful looking store.

‘I’m confident the customers are going to love what we create.’

A new 209-space multi-storey car park with access for shoppers straight into Debenhams is expected to open the same day as the store opens.

Pam Marsden, Fareham Shopping Centre director, added: ‘News is eagerly awaited on the different departments Debenhams will be bringing in.

‘There is keen interest in which beauty houses and fashion labels we can expect in town and we will announce this as soon as we can.’