The announcement, only weeks after neighbouring Knight and Lee said it was also to close, is a sign of the shift to online shopping but the changes could lead to an exciting future, according to the PPA.
Chairman Chris Green said: ‘As a child, I can remember waiting to see Father Christmas and to hear such a well-established business is closing is sad.
'It is a sign of the times and we need to come to terms with the way people shop nowadays which is increasingly online.’
While Tom Holloway, former chairman, agreed it was disappointing but said he was optimistic the change may herald something even better for Southsea.
He said: ‘Southsea is increasingly being seen as a cool and quirky place and the departure of Debenhams gives it the opportunity to keep developing in this direction.
'Southsea is becoming more like Brighton with an independent and creative heartbeat. It is time to reinvent Southsea.’