Debenhams - key store for Newport's Friars Walk scheme - say they're committed to Newport

REDEVELOPMENT: Debenhams is a key store in the Friars Walk scheme for Newport

REDEVELOPMENT: Debenhams is a key store in the Friars Walk scheme for Newport

First published in News
Last updated

A MAJOR department store earmarked to be an anchor store for the city centre redevelopment says its hasn’t changed its plans for new outlets after a profit warning this week.

Debenhams confirmed back in 2012 that it would open a 93,000 sq ft department store at Friars Walk.

But earlier this week the company announced that it expected its profits for the first six months of the financial year to fall to £85 million, 26 per cent less than the year before.

Those figures, however, do not appear to affect plans for Friars Walk.

A spokesman for the company said: “This week’s trading update does not change Debenhams strategy or its plans for future store openings.”

Back in 2012 the company said Newport had been a priority for some time, with the city being one of the largest in Britain without a Debenhams.

One of the reasons cited for Newport council’s decision to borrow £90 million to lend to Frairs Walk developers Queensberry Real Estate was the timeline given by the company for opening the outlet.

Debenhams has specified that it wants to be open at Friars Walk by Christmas 2015 or spring 2016 at the latest.

Under the council’s plans for the loan, which have been backed by a meeting of full council, the council will borrow up to £90 million from the Public Works Loan Board and lend it to Queensberry.

The developers will have to pay the money back to the council at market rate of interest within a year of the scheme’s completion.

This would allow for construction to start around March next year with Friars Walk open for business in November 2015, ahead of Debenhams’s timetable.

The Welsh Government has provided £1.5 million in funding for the city centre demolition work in and around John Frost Square to ready for Friars Walk.

That work will see the Capitol car park, Newport bus station and shops in John Frost Square demolished. It is hoped the area will be ready for construction work to start in March.

The fall in profits for Debenhams comes after big discounts failed to spur a surge in last-minute Christmas shopping.

The trading statement sent shares in the firm down 12 per cent.

Comments (7)

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3:16pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Vox Dei says...

If their profits are down that's all the more reason to tap into undeveloped markets like Newport.
If their profits are down that's all the more reason to tap into undeveloped markets like Newport. Vox Dei
  • Score: 13

3:19pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Welsh1980 says...

really hope this happens. Rumours about them coming have been going around since I was little and I am now 33.
really hope this happens. Rumours about them coming have been going around since I was little and I am now 33. Welsh1980
  • Score: 15

3:24pm Fri 3 Jan 14

whatintheworld says...

Vox Dei wrote:
If their profits are down that's all the more reason to tap into undeveloped markets like Newport.
gotta speculate to accumulate!
[quote][p][bold]Vox Dei[/bold] wrote: If their profits are down that's all the more reason to tap into undeveloped markets like Newport.[/p][/quote]gotta speculate to accumulate! whatintheworld
  • Score: 6

4:50pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Frankfurt says...

They sacked their finance director today.
They sacked their finance director today. Frankfurt
  • Score: 0

1:45pm Sat 4 Jan 14

DavidMclean says...

As if they would add to their woes by saying they're not coming. The press would be all over such a statement with headlines such as 'Debenhams pull back from expansion plans' etc. They might well be committed to Newport, or they may not, but to expect anything other than positive damage-limitation statements at this moment is foolish.
As if they would add to their woes by saying they're not coming. The press would be all over such a statement with headlines such as 'Debenhams pull back from expansion plans' etc. They might well be committed to Newport, or they may not, but to expect anything other than positive damage-limitation statements at this moment is foolish. DavidMclean
  • Score: -4

5:39pm Sat 4 Jan 14

scraptheWAG says...

i would imagine they have lured them there with very cheap rent its filling the full price rent will be the problem in a poor town like newport
i would imagine they have lured them there with very cheap rent its filling the full price rent will be the problem in a poor town like newport scraptheWAG
  • Score: -5

3:25pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Floppy backed says...

Debenhams is stale and not the store it used to be. Dreadfully designed layouts, terrible merchandise and has to compete with the likes of John Lewis which has the lure and kudos that Debenhams used to have. M&S had a terrible Christmas and were heavily discounting to get people through the door. I cant see what Debenhams offers that will help it bring back profits I think the whole company will be on its knees if it doesnt turn around pretty quick.
Debenhams is stale and not the store it used to be. Dreadfully designed layouts, terrible merchandise and has to compete with the likes of John Lewis which has the lure and kudos that Debenhams used to have. M&S had a terrible Christmas and were heavily discounting to get people through the door. I cant see what Debenhams offers that will help it bring back profits I think the whole company will be on its knees if it doesnt turn around pretty quick. Floppy backed
  • Score: 0

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