Debenhams has returned to the high street under new owners Boohoo with a beauty store at Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre.
The two-floor, 7,552sq ft shop, which was formerly an outlet for fashion chain Gap, is understood to be necessary in order for Boohoo to meet historic contractual deals with key brands after Debenhams exited its department stores in January.
Jeanette Whithear, beauty and homeware director at Debenhams.com, said: “Debenhams.com hopes to create a destination that is fresh, modern and unique space where customers can experience the latest in beauty.”
She said the store, which is close to Boohoo’s Manchester head office and will feature interactive screens that can flag social media posts, merged “digital and physical elements”.
Boohoo is not expected to open further high street outlets. However, the concept opened after Next turned a number of former Debenhams sites into its own upmarket beauty concept, while Harrods now has three H Beauty specialist stores around the country, in a battle to snap up Debenhams’ share of the beauty market.
Debenhams closed its final 124 stores, leaving large gaps on high streets around the country, after online specialist Boohoo bought the brand, but not the stores, out of administration.
Boohoo relaunched Debenhams’ website and began selling beauty products earlier this year including well-known brands such as Lancôme, Benefit and Yves Saint Laurent.
Scott Linard, portfolio director at property group M&G which owns the Arndale Centre, said the Debenhams outlet was a “great boost … for bricks and mortar retail and demonstrates that there will continue to be a balance between online and in-person shopping”.