Pat McFadden: Don't give up hope on future of Wolverhampton's Debenhams
The flagship Debenhams store in Wolverhampton is not dead yet despite the latest serious blow to its hopes of staying open, it was claimed today.
City MP Pat McFadden said the fight must go on after it was revealed nobody had come forward with an acceptable bid to rescue the high street giant.
A vote by creditors to press ahead with the closure of 22 of its least profitable stores, including in Wolverhampton's Mander Centre, passed the threshold of 75 per cent needed to go ahead, making the likelihood of saving the city branch even more remote.
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But Labour's Mr McFadden said the rescue of Beatties proved the importance of never giving up hope.
The MP for Wolverhampton South East said: "It will be very bad news for the city if this closure went ahead. This is a brand-new store which was the cornerstone of the major renewal of the Mander Centre.
"However, we shouldn't give up all hope because we were in a similar situation with Beatties and that has been saved."
Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, admitted the situation looked "bleak".
He added: "It doesn't look good for Debenhams in Wolverhampton unfortunately. But while there is hope we should work with the company.
"Debenhams is such a key part of the Mander Centre and the local retail offer and we need to do everything we can. It does look bleak but hope springs eternal."
The announcement the Wolverhampton store was going to close sent shockwaves through the city, and came just 18 months after it opened as the revamped Mander Centre's anchor store.
A group of creditors took control of the retailer after it went into a so-called pre-pack administration last month, but after putting Debenhams up for sale said administrators at FTI Consulting considered buyout bids to be “not at the level required to be taken forward”.
It is understood Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, which owned a 29 per cent stake in Debenhams, was not one of the bidders, despite having led an aggressive campaign to take control of the retailer before its pre-pack administration.