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Redundancy notices served on staff in Debenhams in Highland capital

By Staff Reporter

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Staff at Debenhams have been made redundant.
Staff at Debenhams have been made redundant.

Staff across departments in the Inverness branch of Debenhams have been made redundant while it is still closed due to coronavirus.

The exact number of staff affected is not known but the redundancies are understood to impact staff in the store's restaurant and travel money sections as well as the personal shopper service.

One insider said there was a sense of shock, with staff unhappy they had been given just two days notice.

The store – the Eastgate Shopping Centre's flagship store – has been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but talks have taken place between the retailer and shopping centre management regarding arrangements for its reopening.

The company, which has 142 stores nationwide, fell into administration for the second time in a year in April, with administrators having now decided to close a majority of store cafés.

In England, most stores are expected to reopen from June 15.

A spokeswoman said: "Debenhams’ preparations to reopen the vast majority of its stores from June 15 are well underway following the successful conclusion of lease negotiations on 120 stores.

"In the context of a retail industry undergoing profound change, the management team is working on the future shape of the group, with a view to seeking an exit from administration as a going concern.

"With a leaner and more flexible operating model, Debenhams will have the ability to adapt to what are likely to be fundamental shifts in the future trading environment."

Eastgate Shopping Centre manager Jackie Cuddy confirmed talks had taken place regarding the reopening of the Inverness branch when it was allowed.

"They are currently working to make the store safe from a social distance perspective as are we," she said.

Related: Flagship store threatened by coronavirus

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