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People walk past a Debenhams store in Manchester on April 9, 2021.

MOLLY DARLINGTON/Reuters

British department store retailer Debenhams will permanently close its remaining stores on May 15, bringing the curtain down on 242 years of trading.

Debenhams, founded in London in 1778, started a liquidation process in December, dealing a hammer blow to Britain’s retail sector.

While it has struggled for years, the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns pushed it over the edge.

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Having already announced 52 store closures up to May 8, Debenhams said on Wednesday its remaining 49 stores would close on either May 12 or May 15.

Closures on May 15 will include stores in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Swansea.

Debenhams has been holding closing down sales, offering up to 80 per cent off fashion and homewares.

“Over the next 10 days, Debenhams will close its doors on the high street for the final time in its 242 year history,” Debenhams said.

“We hope to see you all one last time in stores before we say a final goodbye to the UK high street.”

While Debenhams physical presence in the UK will die, the brand will live on.

In January, online fashion retailer Boohoo purchased the Debenhams brand out of administration for 55 million pounds.

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