In the wake of the announcement that Debenhams has been put into administration, one of the directors of the company behind Blackpool’s Houndshill said he had high hopes that the anchor store will continue in the centre.
Mike Riley, joint managing director, of Waypoint Asset Management, which works closely with Houndshill’s owner New Frontier, said that the Blackpool was one of the most profitable Debenhams in the region and so less likely to be one of the 50 that have been earmarked for closure.
But he said the retail market nationally having a tough time and needed the support from local authorities to fight off the many challenges such as Internet shopping, high rents and rates.
He said: “We are a major investor in the town and the Houndshill is a great centre. All shopping centres need investment especially as it is a tough business environment.
“Blackpool’s Debenhams is a profitable store with a strong turnover. It is in the top 10 per cent of the region so, as far as we’re concerned, there appears no inclination to close it. But it is also important that people use their town centre shopping environment.”
He said the retail market was a changing one and all retailers must consider if they have the right sized store for the town they are in. But he said resizing could also include increases in floor space such as the town’s River Island and Foot Asylum.
He added that they were working closely with Blackpool Council to allow the new development needed at the Houndshill such as the extension and cinema plans.
Debenhams has entered a pre-pack administration but stores are continuing to trade. It has 165 stores and employs 25,000 people.