Shoppers are waiting up to an hour in a virtual queuing system to shop online at collapsing chain Debenhams, after the news that the chain will close.
Debenhams will remain open (including for online shopping) while parts of the business are being sold, with discounts offered of up to 70 per cent on certain products in a stock clearance sale.
More than 12,000 jobs are at risk with the chain’s collapse. JD Sports recently pulled out of a potential deal to buy the brand, and save it from administration, after a dismal week for UK retail.
Customers have complained that the Debenhams online queuing system hasn’t gone as smoothly as they’d hoped.
With social media users reporting they’d been dropped from the queue when their wait time had expired. “Website is appalling,” said one upset online shopper John Grieve on social media.
The Independent joined the Debenhams website queue on Wednesday morning, which said it would be a 10 minute wait, but it took longer to enter the website. We managed to view products but were later kicked off the website after not being active on the page for a period of time, and had to rejoin the queue.
Hundreds of shoppers are saddened by the news of Debenhams closing, and have praised the store on social media and stated how much they will miss it. “Absolutely gutted best store for everything, cannot believe it,” said Andi Smith.
“So gutted, love the store. Got to know all the staff at merry hill West Midlands. Cannot believe you will not be on our high street. Thank you to you all,” said Susan Hunt.
“So sad, love shopping in Debenhams. I really don’t know where I’ll shop when they close. Fingers crossed for a buyer to save the store,” said Jill Gold.
Debenhams posted on its Facebook account that its website would be trading as usual, and after lockdown “stores will be open in line with local government guidance”.
Debenhams-appointed administrators FRP Advisory said on Tuesday that it’s highly unlikely the chain will be saved at this stage:
"Given the current trading environment and the likely prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook for a restructured operation is highly uncertain.
"The administrators have therefore regretfully concluded that they should commence a wind-down of Debenhams UK, whilst continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business."
Debenhams’ collapse comes after news of the demise of the Arcadia group. The company is known for high street brands Burton, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, and the group is Debenhams’ biggest supplier. It’s predicted another 13,000 jobs could be lost in the Arcadia closures.