Shutting up shop: the names of the main streets that we will never see again | Retail business


A a series of retail failures during the pandemic has changed the face of Britain’s main streets for good. Several well-known names have vanished from city centers and malls across the country and will not be among those reopening on Monday along with the rest of England’s non-essential retailers, personal care businesses and hospitality venues with outdoor tables.

Those who have closed permanently since the first lockdown in March 2020 now include:


Sir Philip Green was once nicknamed the King of the High Street. But not more. His Arcadia group collapsed into administration last November, jeopardizing more than 13,000 jobs and heralding the end of a retail empire that included Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton.

Administrators successfully sold various brands to different buyers, but none of them wanted to keep Arcadia stores.

Online fashion retailer Asos bought Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and sportswear brand HIIT for £ 330million, but did not need any of the brand’s 70 branches.

Meanwhile, another online fashion retailer, Boohoo, paid £ 25million for the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands, which previously had more than 200 branches.

Evans, Arcadia’s plus size clothing brand, has been sold to Australian retailer City Chic Collective and is now only available online.


Oxford Street's Debenhams store came on board,
Photograph: Matthew Chattle / Rex

The collapsed department store chain will reopen briefly, but only for a closing sale. Just under 100 Debenhams branches will sell the remaining stock, with discounts of up to 70%, before closing for good on May 15. Several locations will never reopen, including the brand’s flagship store, Oxford Street in central London, after the building’s lease ends in February.

The retailer, which began its drapery and haberdashery business at a store near Oxford Street in the late 18th century, fell under administration for the second time in 2020. It still employed 12,000 people at the start of this year. Debenhams had been on the main streets of Britain for over 200 years, and its closure will leave a hole in the heart of many city centers and shopping malls.

The Debenhams brand name will survive, but only on the Internet. It was bought by online retailer Boohoo for £ 55million in January. Boohoo plans to relaunch Debenhams online by the end of May.

Oasis and warehouse

An Oasis store just off Oxford Street
Photograph: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

The inability of administrators to secure a bailout for fashion chains Oasis and Warehouse resulted in the loss of 1,800 jobs and the permanent closure of 92 stand-alone stores and 400 department store concessions of both chains.

The brands were sold to restructuring company Hilco, owner of the Homebase DIY chain, in a deal that included their stock.

Both chains collapsed into administration in April 2020, during the first lockdown, when the forced closure of non-essential stores proved too burdensome for retailers already grappling with rising costs and the shift to online shopping. line.

Cath Kidston

The Cath Kidston store in Windsor, Berkshire
Photographie: Maureen McLean / Rex

The vintage-inspired brand announced just after the start of the first lockdown that it was permanently closing all of its 60 UK stores as part of a bailout deal with its Hong Kong-based owner Baring Private Equity Asia. A total of 900 employees were made redundant as a result of the decision to leave Britain’s High Street, although the company continues to trade online and through its 180 overseas stores, operated by a franchise company.

The retro fashion and home goods company opened its first store in West London in 1993.


Exterior shot of Thorntons store.
Photograph: Getty Images

Chocolate retailer Thorntons became another established name to disappear from Main Street, when it announced last month that it was closing all of its 61 stores, with the likely loss of 600 jobs.

The brand was founded in Sheffield by Joseph Thornton, who marked his business debut year with the slogan “chocolate heaven since 1911”. The company’s confectionery products will continue to be sold in supermarkets and other retailers, and it will continue to make chocolate for international markets from its factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

Thorntons said he had been particularly hard hit by the pandemic as two lockdowns occurred during his peak sales times, including two back-to-back Easters and Christmas 2020. He also lost customers to his rival more fashionable Hotel Chocolat.


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