Debenhams pulls out – 3rd March 2015

According to a Cheshire East Council news release, anchor tenant Debenhams has announced the retailer will terminate their pre-let agreement with Silk Street developer Wilson Bowden. This decision calls into question the future of the entire controversial development

As Wake Up Macclesfield has maintained since before planning permission for the retail complex was granted by CEC in June 2013, it was always unlikely Debenhams would invest in a bricks and mortar store in Macclesfield. With online shopping on the rise, the retail giant has been facing precarious market conditions for some time and has seen sharp declines in profit.

Notably, Debenhams boss Michael Sharp conceded in January 2013 ‘the market isn’t growing, it’s about stealing market share if we’re going to grow’. WuM has long publicly warned that this approach would have a devastating effect on the remaining competitors in town, independent and national chain stores alike.

Adding to the pressure on the developer, a recent viability report makes a point of saying the 13% proposed return on investment as forecast by Wilson Bowden is unusually low; the minimum is usually 20%. It remains to be seen if the development will now be scrapped given that market conditions are unlikely to change.

See full story in the Macclesfield Express

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