THE retail trade union Usdaw has called for an urgent meeting with administrators at Debenhams following news all the company's stores - including its flagship Newport branch - would close.

Following months of uncertainty, earlier this week it was announced online fashion retailer Boohoo had bought the Debenhams brand - but that the deal did not include any of the company's branches.

Around 12,000 jobs reportedly to be lost as part of the deal, and trade union Usdaw - the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers - has called for government action to prevent more high street job losses.

Calling Monday's announcement a "terrible day" for the high street, national officer Dave Gill said: “Last summer redundancies were made by conference call, with no meaningful consultation or proper notice period, as required by law.

"That must not happen again and we urge the administrators to engage with Usdaw, the trade union for Debenhams staff.

"It is crucial that they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We continue to provide our members with the support, advice and legal representation they need at this very difficult time."


"Each one of those job losses is a personal tragedy for the individual worker and store closures are scarring our high streets and communities.

“What retail needs is a joined up strategy of unions, employers and government working together to develop a recovery plan. Usdaw has long called for an industrial strategy for retail, as part of our ‘Save our Shops’ campaign, to help a sector that was already struggling before the coronavirus emergency.

“There are substantial issues that need to be addressed likes rents, rates and taxation, to create a level playing field between high streets and online retail.

“Retail is crucial to our town and city centres, it employs around three million people across the UK."

Debenhams has been a key store in Newport's Friars Walk centre since it opened in 2015.

Centre director for Friars Walk Simon Pullen said: “Now that Debenhams has been sold to Boohoo and they have made the difficult decision not to keep any of the high street stores open, we understand there will be a transition period resulting in the closure of all high street stores.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the hardworking and dedicated team at Debenhams for providing customers with exemplary service for many years and we wish them all the best for the future.

“We are fully committed to bringing great names to the shopping centre and will continue to explore potential opportunities for the unit, with announcements to be made in due course.”