Shoppers' sadness on last day for Chesterfield's Debenhams store

Shelves were barren at Chesterfield Debenhams today during a final dash by shoppers eyeing up a bargain.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 2:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 3:59 pm

Not a single product could be seen in the cosmetics counters and homeware sections – while the escalator up to the 60,000 sq foot shop’s gutted first floor was cordoned off.

As customers queued outside the outlet – where huge banners promised 70 to 80 per cent off – those inside rifled through racks of heavily-discounted clothes.

Men’s shirts at the store – which opened in 2012 – were on sale for as little as £2, while good quality older ladies woollen tops were going for under £10.

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To mark the end of an era as the department giant – over 200 years old – closes its doors for the final time across the UK Derbyshire Times chatted with loyal customers inside hunting for a discount deal.

Dianne Johnson who travelled from Mansfield with friends, said she was “shocked” at how little was left on the aisles.

She added: “People have obviously been coming every day clearing it out because who doesn’t like a bargain?

“But I’m more sad and feel quite emotional for the community and all the staffing issues.

John and Carmel Kemp

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"My friend isn’t online - she has no internet - so if everything goes on Amazon delivery she can’t find things and you’re losing ability to try stuff on.

"If something comes it looks nothing like, so then you’ve got to go about returning it - it’s sad.

“After Debenhams all that’s left is Marks & Spencer – especially for a special occasion like a wedding.”

Shopper queue for one last bargain

Carmel Kemp, whose "shoe-mad” husband John picked up a nice pair of loafers for £10, was a little disappointed with the remaining stock – all in “very small” sizes.

However she added: “It’s nice to have a look around – I do feel very sorry for the staff as it’s the end of an era.

"I couldn’t believe how empty it is because we came here only a week ago and everything’s gone now – there’s nothing upstairs at all.”

Debenhams devotee Carmel – who moved to Chesterfield with husband John from London a year ago, said: "We used to shop here all the time in London.

Dianne Johnson

"It’s always very nice stuff, the sizes and the quality is good and it was a store within a store – you’ve got everything under the one roof.”

Marilyn Sharp and her daughter Emily Walter came to the store for “one last browse”.

Mum Marilyn said: “I just feel it’s really sad for Chesterfield – it’s such a lovely store and I shop here regularly.

"It seemed to be really busy every time you came in, so I don’t understand why it’s shutting really.

"I came here for the quality of the clothing – you can get nice things, nice things for my granddaughter.

Emily Walter with mum Marilyn Sharp

"When I came last week there was loads of stuff but it’s just bare now.”

Emily said she used the shop to buy clothes for her daughter as “it lasts better than most places”.

She said: “There was always a mixed range of prices – depends what you go for. I think a lot people prefer trying things on – especially when you’re buying for kids.”

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The last remaining stock - a few racks of discounted clothes
Cleared out shelves
Jewellery counter empty
No cosmetics on sale here
The raided homeware department