DEBENHAMS has confirmed plans to close six stores permanently, including its flagship London store on Oxford Street - but the store in Taunton is not one of those affected.

This move will affect 320 members of staff and will bring Debenhams’ store estate down to 118, compared to the 124 it had before it began liquidation proceedings in December.

The struggling department store chain said that the renewed Covid-19 lockdown meant that a number of stores where it was unable to agree lease extensions on will be permanently closed.

Along with its 370,000sq ft Oxford Street store, branches in Harrogate, Portsmouth, Staines, Weymouth and Worcester are closing.

The retailer said its administrator FRP Advisory was continuing to engage with a number of third parties regarding the sale of all or parts of the business.

As part of the ongoing wind-down of the business, all of Debenhams’ stores will eventually disappear from the high street, although an exact date for when each remaining branch will close has yet to be confirmed.

The closure of the Oxford Street site will impact Debenhams’ London Support Centre, which sits above the store.

For the time being, Support Centre colleagues will continue to work remotely in line with government guidance, and its Support Centre in Taunton remains operational.

“We continue to engage with interested parties over alternative proposals for the future of Debenhams, but inevitably the latest lockdown has had an effect on our plans for the wind-down of the business,” said FRP Advisory partner Geoff Rowley.

“We regret the impact on those colleagues affected by today’s announcement and would like to thank all those who continue to keep the business trading in very difficult circumstances.”