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Debenhams returns to retail with the opening of beauty store

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: Boohoo Group, Debenhams

Boohoo-owned Debenhams is set to return to retail with the opening of a flagship beauty destination at Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre.

Since the acquisition of the retailer by the Boohoo Group at the beginning of 2021, Debenhams has seen a substantial rebranding and restructuring, with the closing of its stores throughout the UK. In June, the British retailer revealed a new brand direction as a digital department store, through a campaign that displayed a fresh image and inclusive message.

Under the new name, Debenhams.com, the e-tailer is now returning to brick and mortar, in the birthplace of the Boohoo Group, Manchester. The Debenhams.com Beauty store covers two floors, over a total area of 7,552 square foot retail space. Offering the latest beauty products, the store hopes to appeal to customers in a modern and unique setting.

Image: Boohoo Group, Debenhams

Beauty reflects the brand’s new vision and image, with an interior inspired by high-end beauty and fragrance brands that will all be stocked within the store. It further implemented its online identity through the use of interactive screens, complete with real-time social media posting, displaying its priority as an omnichannel experience.

On December 9, the store will host its premier event, offering the first 50 customers a bespoke goodie bag, alongside beauty demonstrations and sampling.

“We are delighted to be opening Debenhams.com Beauty store, within the Manchester Arndale, especially as this is the home of the Boohoo group,” said Jeanette Whithear, the retailer’s homeware and beauty director, in a release. “It feels like an organic location for this exciting retail space, within the heart of the city.”

Image: Boohoo Group, Debenhams

Debenhams continues to resurface

The Debenhams brand was acquired by Boohoo for 55 million pounds in January 2021, following years of difficulty at the retailer as it struggled to keep up with the continued growth in e-commerce rivals. The company filed for administration back in 2020 due to the government-enforced retail closures as part of the covid-19 safety precautions.

The acquisition included that of the brand and the website, but not its store network, which eventually led to the closure of its 124 retail spaces across the UK.

Since then, Boohoo has continued to grow the presence of Debenhams both online and globally, including the establishment of a partnership with Kuwait-based Alshaya Group. The agreement allows the retail company to have exclusive rights to operate stores and local e-commerce throughout certain countries in the Middle East. It also enabled Boohoo Group brands to appear in Debenhams stores and local e-commerce from the fourth quarter of the year.

Additionally, Debenhams launched a new marketplace, powered by SaaS platform Mirakl, to “meet evolving customer demand” and allow it to offer more than 70,000 new products. The partnership looks to support the development of a strong online presence, with the ultimate goal of becoming the UK’s largest marketplace across fashion, beauty, sport and homeware.

In addition to Debenhams, Boohoo has acquired a large number of retailers over the past two years in an effort to strengthen its multi-brand platform. These include the likes of Karen Millen, Coast and Oasis, as well as the Burton group and Dorothy Perkins.

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