Debenhams names date to close Kirkcaldy store

Desire By Debenhams store in Kirkcaldy  High Street (Pic: Fife Free Press)
Desire By Debenhams store in Kirkcaldy High Street (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Debenhams in Kirkcaldy will close its doors after Christmas, it has been confirmed.

The High Street store will be gone no later than January 24 next year.

2006 opening of Desire By Debenhams store in Kirkcaldy  High Street (Pic: Fife Free Press)

2006 opening of Desire By Debenhams store in Kirkcaldy High Street (Pic: Fife Free Press)

The dates were confirmed during “candid” talks between the struggling retailer, Fife Council and Lesley Laird MP.

The meeting was called to discuss the impact of closure on the store’s 23 employees – the majority of them on part-time contracts.

Debenhams revealed its Kirkcaldy outlet was struggling due to a lack of customers and the lease on the building was due to expire in 2021.

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It was one of 30 stores earmarked for closure as part of a £200m refinancing deal.

Ms Laird, and Councillor Altany Craik, Fife Council’s economy convener, met with Farouk Mangera, Debenhams’ head of HR, and Clive Bentley, property director, to discuss the store’s plans to quit the Lang Toun.

She said: “They made it clear the store was struggling due to low footfall which couldn’t offset overheads, including rent and rates. The lease was also due to expire in 2021.

“The store currently employs 23 people, nine of whom work full time, and I’ve been assured that all efforts are being made to ring-fence vacancies for staff at other Debenhams stores, including Dunfermline.

“In addition, the company has enlisted the help of agencies such as Skills Development Scotland and the Retail Trust to offer staff support, including pension advice.”
Ms Laird said Debenhams had reached a “crunch point” but described its plans to quit Kirkcaldy as “incredibly disappointing.”

She added: “Conditions are tough for all major high street retailers as they grapple with online shopping trends, and Debenhams had reached crunch point.

“While incredibly disappointing, the reasons which led to the decision to close in Kirkcaldy – likely after Christmas and certainly by January 24 next year - are hard to dispute.

“Nevertheless, this represents yet another significant blow for Kirkcaldy High Street and all key stakeholders must redouble efforts together to turn the town centre’s fortunes around.”

Cllr Craik said the focus now had to be on helping the staff find other work.

He added: “While disappointed at the announcement to close Kirkcaldy, it is important that the company ensures that the staff are given every opportunity to find posts at other stores.

“It is vital that we work together to find new tenants for the unit on the High Street in Kirkcaldy and continue our efforts to make the area a great place to visit for leisure and retail.”