Debenhams cleared to close Wolverhampton store early next year
Hopes of Debenhams staying open in Wolverhampton look to have been dealt a fatal blow after the high street giant was given the green light to press ahead with its plan to axe 22 stores.
The retailer has overcome a challenge to its restructuring programme following a ruling at the High Court allowing it to go forward with a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to shut its least profitable stores.
They include the flagship Mander Centre anchor store, which opened just two years ago as the centrepiece of the newly-refurbished shopping centre.
It is on course to close its doors in the new year, barring a last-minute change of heart.
Discussions were held over the summer about the possibility of Debenhams moving to a smaller unit but hopes of a deal appear to be fading.
The Express & Star revealed this week that House of Fraser was considering leaving Beatties to move to the store currently home to Debenhams.
A Debenhams branch is Birmingham is also among the 22 earmarked for closure. A total of 1,200 jobs are set to go as a result of the restructure.
Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden said: "There were hopes that perhaps Debenhams could stay, even if the store was reduced in size.
"If that is not the case the key thing is to find a productive and positive use for that store because it's an essential part of the Mander Centre and city centre retail offer.
On the possibility of House of Fraser moving in, he added: "The key thing is not to have empty stores in the city centre."