HIGH street giant, Debenhams, tonight revealed plans to close some stores and issued an update on its future as it continues to wind down the business. 

Debenhams, which has stores across Essex including Southend, Basildon and Colchester, says it continues talks with a "number of third parties" over the sale of all or parts of the business.

The company says while these talks go on, bosses continue to plan for the ongoing wind-down of the business as announced on December 1.

It also revealed staff in Debenhams stores in Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester were informed last week that their stores will not reopen.

In addition - because of the potential ongoing impact of Covid restrictions on non-essential retail - the company has been unable to agree a lease extension with the landlord of the flagshi[ Oxford Street store. As a result, this store will not reopen.

The company said it remained its intention to reopen as many stores as possible to complete the stock liquidation, which continues online.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator to Debenhams and Partner at FRP Advisory, said: “We continue to engage with interested parties over alternative proposals for the future of Debenhams, but inevitably the latest lockdown has had an effect on our plans for the wind-down of the business.

"We regret the impact on those colleagues affected by today’s announcement and would like to thank all those who continue to keep the business trading in very difficult circumstances.”