Debenhams has been a stalwart presence on British high streets for over 240 years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated struggles for the department store chain. In 2021, Debenhams made the difficult decision to close all of their physical UK stores permanently.
Originally starting as a small London store in the 1700s, Debenhams rapidly expanded into the country’s largest department store retailer with over 240 locations. But the pressures of high street decline, falling sales, and changing consumer habits proved insurmountable during the pandemic.
With the closures of the iconic brick-and-mortar stores, Debenhams now operates primarily online. The retailer continues offering its broad selection of fashion, home, beauty, and more through its e-commerce site and mobile app.
While no longer a high street presence, Debenhams aims to uphold its heritage of convenience, value, and service through virtual channels. Key features that retain the department store experience online include:
- Expansive selection of over 100,000 products across all categories
- Intuitive search and filtering tools to easily find items
- Special discount vouchers and promo codes providing savings
- Virtual try-on tools and beauty advisors replicating in-store services
- Speedy delivery options and click & collect for convenience
- Secure encryption and fraud protection for safe shopping
Though the pandemic rapidly accelerated its decline, the Debenhams name retains goodwill as an iconic British retailer. By focusing on its strengths as an online department store, Debenhams hopes to prosper in the post-pandemic retail landscape. The brand is evolving to give customers a convenient, personalized shopping experience from home.