Consumers turned to online platforms like Boohoo as lockdowns took effect

Boohoo and its rival Asos enjoyed soaring sales growth last year as shoppers shifted towards their platforms amid lockdown restrictions.

The fast fashion retailers both delivered strong growth following the first lockdown in England as shoppers continued to spend money on clothes despite the closure of high street stores.

Both retailers have tapped into higher demand for loungewear and tailored their range to account for fewer parties and smart occasions.

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Boohoo has reported even more rapid sales growth since the pandemic fully struck the UK last year.

It has attracted controversy about its supply chain, with allegations about workers in suppliers' factories in Leicester being paid less than the minimum wage.

The company has since addressed those issues - but the retail trade union Usdaw in the North West has repeatedly attempted to discuss arrangements for the union to represent workers in Burnley and Manchester.

Today the Debenhams closures were being felt across the county.

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Michael Williams from Blackpool Business Improvement District said: "The loss of Debenhams stores is a blow for many towns and cities including Blackpool.

"As a major retailer they employed a lot of people in Blackpool and we are sorry to see them lose their jobs in such challenging and difficult circumstances.

"Hopefully, a new tenant can be found as a priority as we would all like to see the store back open as soon as possible.

"The Coronavirus Pandemic and the enforced closure of non-essential retail stores is not helping high street retailers with many shoppers reverting to on line shopping. Hopefully, the Town Centre will get back some normality before Easter and shoppers will return to support the stores across Blackpool."

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Coun Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The extension of the Houndshill, which includes a new cinema complex, is going ahead as planned.

"We understand that Debenhams Blackpool will reopen for four to six weeks after lockdown in order to liquidate stock and close permanently after that.

"In the meantime, we continue to explore options for a replacement anchor tenant in the existing shopping centre.”

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