Another Debenhams store axed from Next's beauty hall list
Retail may be all but closed down as the coronavirus lockdown continues, but some things are still moving fast behind-the-scenes. And less than two weeks after Hammerson announced that Next would be opening beauty halls in five vacated Debenhams spaces in its shopping centres, two of the biggest malls have already been taken off the list.
Last week we reported that the Debenhams’ Bullring store could potentially remain under the Debenhams banner for now, and now it seems that Silverburn in Glasgow could as well.
The Mail on Sunday reported at the weekend that Debenhams chairman Mark Gifford has blocked Next takeover deals for the Bullring and for Silverburn. With their heavy footfall and destination status, they would have been two of the most prominent locations for the new Next premium beauty concept.
The newspaper said the deals were blocked after Gifford discovered Hammerson had held secret talks with Next.
Next is clearly not Debenhams’ favourite rival after it last year won the Ted Baker kidswear creation/sales license from the struggling department stores retailer.
Earlier this month, Debenhams had said it would vacate five stores in Hammerson shopping centres after it had failed to reach an acceptable rent deal with the landlord. But since then, staff who had been told they would lose their jobs have been taken back on and are currently on furlough rather than being laid off completely.
It appears that the remaining three locations in which Next plans to open its beauty concept, the vacant Oracle in Reading, Highcross in Leicester, and Centrale in Croydon, will go ahead. And the Mail on Sunday also said that Next is in talks to sign other contracts for a further 10 former Debenhams beauty halls.
Beauty has long been seen as one of the key growth areas in UK style-focused retail, and post-crisis, that’s not expected to change. This has led to a number of retailers moving into the segment with Harrods the most prominent other name to be working on a standalone specialist beauty concept.
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