THE future of Newport's landmark Debenhams store has been secured after the business came to an agreement around its business rates with the city council.

Debenhams is not eligible for Non-Domestic Rates relief due to a decision by the Welsh Government to place a cap on the scheme, meaning businesses with a rateable value of more than £500,000 are not eligible.

Although Debenhams chairman Mark Gifford has previously said its Welsh stores would not re-open unless the cap - which is not in place in England - is scrapped, the Welsh Government has refused to do so. The Newport store has a rateable value of £510,000.


But now it has been announced Newport City Council has agreed to deferr the company's business rates until later in the year - a move which the company has said will allow the store to re-open.

Announcing the agreement, council leader Cllr Jane Mudd said senior officers had been in "constructive discussions" with Debenhams this week in the relation to the company’s concerns about business rates.

“The Covid-19 crisis has followed the recession and against a backdrop of increasing online shopping, but we know people still like to visit stores and shopping local is going to be an even more important message from now on," she said.

“Following consultation with senior colleagues and officers, I have, therefore, agreed that we should use our powers to defer Debenhams’ business rates until later on in the year while they conclude their current rating appeal.

"I very much hope that this will help them during this difficult time and they will remain in Newport to serve their loyal and new customers.”

Mr Gifford said: “‘We are delighted to be able to confirm that Debenhams in Newport will reopen, and I’d like to place on record my thanks to Newport City Council for their support and constructive approach in our recent discussions.

"All retailers are facing great challenges as a result of Covid-19, but Newport is an important market for us and we look forward to welcoming our customers back to the store soon."

John Griffiths, MS for Newport East, said: “I am very pleased to hear our Labour council has been able to work with Debenhams and come up with a practical solution in order for them to retain the store in the city.

“Having a store of this size is critical to the footfall in that part of the city - I know today’s announcement will be welcomed by the other smaller and medium-sized traders at Friars Walk Shopping Centre.”