New shop 15:17 ready to take over Debenhams store

Debenhams will close this weekend.
Debenhams will close this weekend.

Kirkcaldy’s Debenhams store will close its doors this weekend, with a new tenant taking up the vacant slot less than a fortnight later.

Bosses of the struggling retailer have confirmed the High Street shop will shut its doors for the final time on Saturday.

It is one of 19 which will cease operating as part of a massive programme of closures across the UK. A further 28 will go later in 2020.

Its closure was announced in April 2019 as news of the company’s problems emerged.

However, 15:17 will take over the High Street unit to open its second store in Scotland, after its existing outlet in Ayr.

The new store specialises in taking on large empty shops, which are then divided up to house a number of different retailers, both local and national.

It has been viewed as a newer way of solving the decline in retail which leaves sizable gaps on high streets up and down the country.

15:17 aims to bring a range of different types of retailers under one roof, somewhere between a department store and a market.

Linsey McIlwraith, store operations manager at 15:17, said that the firm is eager to get going in Kirkcaldy, as they pick up the keys to the building on January 24, with renovation kicking off at the end of February.

Before the opening, which is planned for the begining of April, Linsey said that despite the good condition of the building, there will need to be some work done.

She said: “There’s a flood that comes in from the back so we’re just going to fix the problem outside the building rather than rectifying the damage that it does.

“We’ve had so much local interest, even more so than Ayr. They really seem to be embracing the idea.

“Downstairs around 50 per cent is probably going to be local traders. They’ll all run their own businesses, and take their own money so there’s no risk factor for them, they pay us rent and that’s it.

“We bring in some national firms, with some well-known homewares brands, and three really good kidswear brands; Jacob Matthews, Little Lord and Lady and Ziggle.

“Front of house we are going to do a cosmetics area, but it’ll be more of an ethical beauty department; so it’s organic and with no animal testing. That’s what people want to put on their skin.”

Debenhams is just the latest major retail name to quit Kirkcaldy – M&S went last year, Tesco in 2015, while Next also shifted to the retail park.