ClosuresThe strain on the UK department store market has been highlighted by the high-profile struggles of leading chains. In summer 2018, the retailer House of Fraser announced plans to close a large proportion of its stores, before falling into administration and eventually being bought out by owner of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley. This came after a decline in the company’s gross profit of around two million pounds in 2017, as well as the retailer’s share of the market having fallen slightly between 2012 and 2017.
In 2020, a similar fate befell Debenhams. The chain lost about two-thirds of its operating profit from 2015 to 2018 and went into administration, first in 2019, then again in 2020. After the collapse of parent company, Arcadia, Debenhams was liquidated. Boohoo bought the brand and website, and now operates Debenhams exclusively online.