Debenhams collapse means an uncertain future beckons for staff

Date published: 04 December 2020


Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding has described as 'terrible', the news that the Debenhams chain is now facing an extremely uncertain future.

It was announced on Tuesday that the Arcadia group had fallen into administration, meaning 12,000 Debenhams jobs are now at risk.

Leader of the council and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, Councillor Fielding said: “It’s terrible to hear that Debenhams is at risk of closing.

“Since the store opened it has played an important part in our retail and visitor offer.

“The worst bit though is residents’ could lose their jobs in the run up to Christmas.

"I feel for all of them and their families.

“I’d urge all the affected staff to contact our Get Oldham Working team as they are ready to support residents as much as they can.

“Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and several lockdowns, the retail and hospitality sectors across the country have been hit the hardest.

“We were aware of the risks surrounding Debenhams when we purchased Spindles Shopping Centre and we planned for a worst case scenario.

“As owners of the shopping centre we are committed to working with all our tenants and we’ll be monitoring the situation closely over the coming days, supporting the business and its staff however possible.

“Hopefully someone will come in to keep Debenhams afloat, but if they have to close we’ll take the opportunity to look at new leisure or retail uses for a great space right in the heart of town.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has also pledged support for Debenhams staff across the region as they face troubled times.

Mr Burnham said: “Arcadia and Debenhams workers are now facing a winter of real uncertainty, but I want to assure them that Greater Manchester will do everything that we can to support them.

"The Growth Company and their brilliant EmployGM service has already helped people across the city-region who have seen their jobs impacted by the pandemic. 

"I’d encourage anybody affected by the collapse of Arcadia and Debenhams to get in touch with EmployGM and take advantage of the support that is on offer. 

Mark Hughes, Chief Executive of The Growth Company, said: “Following the news of the collapse of Arcadia and Debenhams we know that many thousands of retail workers now need help to find new roles or develop new skills.

"Sadly, the announcements of the closure of well-known high street brands are unlikely to be the last.

"Every sector is being impacted by the pandemic, and the retail sector is being hit particularly hard.

“Along with our partners, the Growth Company is here for Greater Manchester people and businesses who need our support during these tough times.

"Our service EmployGM is there to signpost the support they need.

"Advice and help is also available for retail businesses that are in distress, potentially providing them with additional support and funding to safeguard jobs.”

Employ GM is a service that is being delivered by the Growth Company in partnership with the GMCA to help individuals and employers who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The service connects employers with urgent temporary vacancies and match them with individuals immediately available to carry out the work, whilst also providing volunteering, learning or training opportunities for furloughed staff.

For more information and to get help from Employ GM, visit: www.employgm.org


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