Debenhams stores at St David’s Mall in Cardiff and Quadrant Mall in Swansea were busy with shoppers on Saturday as prices for remaining stock were slashed and discounts of up to 80% were offered.
Once filled with perfumes, makeup, clothing and gifts, most of the shelves at iconic Main Street stores were empty by mid-morning with only one or two floors left open to customers at both outlets.
Empty makeup counters, bare clothes racks and boxes of disused hangers littered the vast empty areas of stores and most checkouts were closed and silent as the brand prepares to move to an online-only operation through the new. owner boohoo.com.
These are the last hours for Debenhams in Wales and the rest of the UK as the department store closes its remaining 28 stores for good.
A staple of UK high streets for over 200 years, Debenhams struggled to keep going during coronavirus lockdowns before it was finally announced in January that the beloved brand would close all of its stores at the loss of around 12,000 jobs.
On the 243-year-old brand’s last day of trading, the two remaining Welsh stores posted a closing time of 4.30pm, but staff confirmed stores would close earlier if ‘everything sold out’ earlier.
The Cardiff store was busy Saturday morning as customers grabbed the last remaining selling stock on the last day of trading.
Debenhams staged a huge fire sale throughout May as she clears her leftover items before the brand becomes a fully online operation.
Many of the shelves were already empty by mid-morning, but there were clothes left on some of the sale shelves for customers to grab a last minute bargain.
The counters of very popular brands like Benefit, Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent were completely empty, along with many others.
Buyers were only allowed on the ground floor and the first floor, with the second floor completely closed.
It was a scene similar to Swansea. Quadrant Mall’s flagship Debenhams store has been the cornerstone of the city’s retail offering for over 40 years and leaves a gaping hole in the center of Swansea’s largest shopping district.
Staff couldn’t say what time on Saturday the store would close for the last time, but said they expected to close “when it’s all gone”.
Only the ground floor remained open at lunchtime, with the majority of the shelves cleared and a minimal stock remaining on display. There were offers of up to 80% off clothing. In both stores, staff could be seen hugging and were visibly moved as the Main Street giant closed.