The Board of Debenhams has announced plans to close up to 50 stores nationally. Unfortunately, and very unexpectedly, Wolverhampton has today been named as one of 22 stores which will close in the first phase in 2020.

In response to the news, the council has issued the following statement: 

Isobel Woods, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Head of Enterprise, said: “Today's announcement highlights the significant restructuring that is taking place across our high streets nationally brought about by fundamental changes to the way people now shop.
"The decision by Debenhams’ Board won’t take effect until next year, so the council and Benson Elliot, owners of the Mander Centre, will be engaging with the company to explore alternative scenarios. However, as it stands at the moment, this is sad news for everyone who works at our local store.
“We are liaising with our partners and the store to understand the implications on the employees affected, and the implications on our wider retail sector. We will of course provide support when and where it’s needed, and we do have a track record of supporting people into other jobs and working with business to overcome challenges.
"Although the timing has been a shock, we have been closely monitoring the national situation. Changes in consumer demand have seen some high street brands succeed where others have struggled and we are fortunate that a number of successful big names including H&M, New Look, B&M and Matalan have recently opened or will be shortly opening new stores in the city centre. 
“Indeed, Benson Elliot announced plans last month to let over 105,000 square foot of new retail space to 4 new, well known brands.
“We have spoken to colleagues at Benson Elliot today and we will be working closely with them over the coming months to develop economically viable plans.
“As a council we have been very much alive to the challenges our city centre and its high street has been facing. We have been working with city partners for some time working on ambitious plans to rethink and reimagine our city centre, shifting the dependence on retail. 
“One billion pounds is being invested including in some fantastic leisure led developments such as Westside, the Civic Halls and the redevelopment of Molineux Stadium along with huge investment in great connectivity, great public spaces, great new homes, a great new events programme, outstanding arts and culture, and a thriving commercial district.”