Boohoo-Debenhams deal ‘an opportunity to bring new commercial uses’ to high streets, says Colliers

Following the announcement that online retailer Boohoo has bought Debenhams for a £55m deal which will see the closure of the department store chain’s remaining shops and a move to online only for the brand, David Fox co-head of retail agency at Colliers International said it was a case of ‘when’ not ‘if.

“While this is a sad day it’s not surprising and one which the market has been anticipating for weeks, it’s been a case of not if, but when,” said Fox. “Through this move Boohoo will hope to diversify their appeal to a broader demographic and shore up their share in the online fashion sphere. 

“Debenham’s landlords will now be looking to enact their plans for the future of the stores. We’re aware of a number of deals that have been agreed already subject to vacant possession once this day had come. This announcement will now help to crystallise the situation for those who do not have plans already in place.” 

Paul Souber, head of retail agency central London, added: “The London flagship store in Oxford Street is a significant land holding of more than 300,00 sq ft – this size of a small shopping centre outside of London. It’s not being seen as a nail in the coffin for Oxford Street, rather an opportunity to bring new commercial uses to the shopping district. We will see this site and others repurposed for a mixture of uses, whether that’s residential, student accommodation, office or hotel, to capitalise on emerging needs and trends.”

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