Next has announced it will be swooping in to fill empty Debenhams stores once the lockdown is over. The brand will be using the space to open up its own beauty halls on the high street. While it’s been revealed that 15 Debenhams stores won’t be reopening following the coronavirus pandemic, the move is good news for shopping centres across the country.
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The coronavirus pandemic has not only taken lives but affected the UK’s high streets too, with many stores suffering as businesses remain closed to the public.
Debenhams went into administration last month after struggling for the second time in a year, and despite efforts to save it, many stores will be closing with workers facing redundancy.
However, customers who are used to getting their beauty fix in the department store will be pleased to know that another retail giant is filling its shoes.
Next, which is usually best known for its fashion and home buys, has revealed it will be opening in five former Debenhams stores to bring its online beauty offering to the British high street.
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The new stores will be opening in five Hammerson shopping centres around the UK.
The new Next beauty sites will be at Bullring & Grand Central in Birmingham, The Oracle in Reading, Highcross in Leicester, Silverburn in Glasgow and Centrale in Croydon.
The retailer has also said there may be more to follow as it looks to build its beauty business in bricks and mortar.
It means the beauty halls that customers are used to will be replaced in the five stores, while Hammerson looks to find other ways to fill the remaining floors of the Debenhams buildings.
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“We’re creating a new force in beauty retailing,” said Next boss Simon Wolfson in a statement. “This is an exciting opportunity to bring our online business to life.”
The brand launched its beauty offering back in 2018 in conjunction with Fabled by Marie Claire, a beauty retail service that was owned by Ocado.
It then bought Fabled in July 2019, and now sells over 200 beauty brands online thanks to the acquisition.
Next sells popular makeup and skincare brands including more premium names such as Estee Lauder, Clinique and Burberry, as well as The Ordinary, Aveda and Rituals.
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The deal will be seen as good news by Hammerson as the company navigates the difficulties affecting the economy.
“This is a really challenging time for all of us, so it’s really encouraging to see strong, innovative brands like Next work with us to plan for the future,” commented David Atkins, Hammerson’s chief executive, in a statement.
“This is another example of how we are repurposing department store space and improving the shopping experience for consumers.”
It’s also a promising sign for Debenhams’ beauty counter staff who will be looking for new roles as the department stores shut up shop for good; Next has said it will be seeking “experienced staff with proven premium beauty retail experience” to run the counters.
“The Next deal is the right decision not only for consumers but for our communities more broadly, as it will create employment prospects and support local economies all over the country,” commented Atkins.
He added: “The beauty hall from Next is a great concept and it’s a real vote of confidence in our flagship destinations that Next has chosen these locations to launch its new offer.”
The move proves that while fashion continues to struggle on the high street and many stores go into administration – including Oasis and Warehouse in recent weeks – beauty is booming.
Dubbed “the lipstick effect”, beauty is often the strongest seller in times of crisis as customers seek ways to feel good by buying smaller pick-me-ups.
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