Portsmouth MP asks Debenhams boss to spare the city from firm's list of 50 store closures

AN MP has written a letter to the boss of a retail giant asking him to spare Portsmouth's stores from closure.

Friday, 26th October 2018, 12:16 am
Updated Friday, 26th October 2018, 2:00 am
Debenhams in Commercial Road, Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells

The correspondence from Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan comes after Debenhams announced it would close 50 of its high street shops over the next three to five years. 

It follows a year of tumbling figures for the brand, which has swung to a £491m loss after recording £59m in profit just 12 months previously. 

Dubbing Debenhams branches in Palmerston Road in Southsea and Commercial Road in Portsmouth '˜vital anchor stores' in city shopping, Mr Morgan addressed the firm's chief executive Sergio Bucher in writing. 

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Having a well-known and respected brand in two of the city's key shopping locations is hugely important to the vitality and prosperity of Portsmouth's high streets,' he said. 

'˜Debenhams also employs hundreds of people in my constituency, I'm hopeful you share my priority in protecting these highly-valued jobs.

'˜I urge you to keep your Portsmouth stores open and know that in doing so you have my full support.'

While Debenhams has not released a list of stores set to get the axe, Mr Bucher said the decision comes after a '˜tough year for retail', with market climates '˜volatile and challenging'. 

The closures will bring the Debenhams store estate down to about 100 and will aim to save a huge £130m.