DEBENHAMS closed the doors of its Newport store for the last time today, as tearful staff bade each other farewell.

The final day of the store’s closing down sale ended early, at around 11.30am, the last bargains having been snapped up.

Shoppers turned away from Debenhams in Newport

Shoppers turned away from Debenhams in Newport

It was low key end for what had been the flagship Friars Walk shopping centre store, which had opened with such fanfare on November 12 2015.

Debenhams had been the anchor store, of 25 shops at that time, at the £117 million shopping centre, and was officially opened by Welsh fashion designer Julien McDonald.

The store had been a major ‘catch’ for the city centre, many years in the making.

But changing shopping habits had already plunged it into difficulty before the coronavirus pandemic helped deliver the final blow.


Towards the end of last year, it was announced that the whole department store chain - which dates back to 1778 –would be closing down unless a buyer was found.

In January of this year, online fashion retailer Boohoo bought the brand and its website for £55 million. But it did not take on any of Debenhams’ stores, and that has meant the end for the Newport store and many others in recent days.

The Newport store was closed during Wales’ most recent lockdown but reopened for a stock clearance sale on April 12.

Huge queues gathered that day hoping to pick up a bargain, but with much of its stock sold the store has now shut, and its remaining stock will be sent to Debenhams in Cardiff which will close later this month.

Even after the store closed earlier, bargain hunters still tried their luck, but found the doors locked.

The future of the site is unclear – although Friars Walk remains open it has seen some changes since opening, with the closure of the three-floored unit likely to be a big blow for Newport city centre.