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Debenhams plc ( ) is a Britishmarkerretailer operating under a department store format in the UKmarker and franchise stores in other countries. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The business was formed in 1778 by Messrs Flint and Clark who began trading at 44 Wigmore Street in Londonmarker as a drapers' store under the name Flint & Clark. In 1813 William Debenham was made a partner so the name was changed to Clark and Debenham. In 1818 the Company opened a second store in Cheltenhammarker and in 1851 Clement Freebody became a partner so the name was changed again, this time to Debenham & Freebody. The business was incorporated as Debenhams Limited in 1905.

The modern Debenhams group grew from the acquisition of department stores in towns and cities throughout the UKmarker, under the leadership of its Chairman, Ernest Debenham. The first of these purchases, Marshall & Snelgrove at Oxford Streetmarker in Londonmarker, was acquired in 1919. Later purchases included Harvey Nichols in Londonmarker's Knightsbridgemarker in 1920. Most stores acquired retained their former identities until a unified corporate image was rolled out across the stores. The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1928.

In 1976 the Company acquired Browns of Chestermarker - the only store that has retained its own identity.

In 1985 the Company was acquired by the Burton group. Debenhams was demerged in 1998 and was once again listed as a separate Company on the London Stock Exchange. It expanded under the leadership of Belinda Earl who was appointed CEO in 2000.

The Company was acquired again in late 2003 this time by a private consortium comprising CVC Capital Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity and management. The company returned to a listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2006.

In October 2009 Debenhams announced its plans to start selling more of its goods on eBay and ..

In November 2009, the Company acquired the Danish department store group Magasin Du Nord.


As of April 2009, the company had 153 stores (including 10 'Desire by Debenhams' stores) covering 10.373 million square feet of retail space across the United Kingdommarker and the Republic of Irelandmarker. It also has 40 franchise stores operating in other countries, including Malaysiamarker and Indonesiamarker.


The company introduced 'Designers at Debenhams' including Jasper Conran, John Richmond, Betty Jackson Black, Jane Packer, Ben de lisi, and John Rocha, an idea constructed by Spencer Hawken and Belinda Earle, which was seen as a saving grace in hard times. The company sells goods under a number of brand names that it owns in its own right.

In 2008 the Company was voted best UK department store by GMTV.

Stores in the United Kingdom



South East England

South West England

Central England


North East England

North West England


Northern Ireland

International Stores



Czech Republic













Republic of Moldova


Saudi Arabia


United Arab Emirates


  1. Debenhams History
  2. Retail Department Stores
  3. Belinda Earl interview
  4. Just what does Debenhams have to offer?
  5. Debenhams: About us
  6. Debenhams Interim Results page 3
  7. Houndshill Shopping Centre
  8. Catwalk Queen
  9. The Press - Retailers vie for Best Sites in York
  10. Debenhams 'to open first store in Iran'
  11. Debenhams launching Malta recruitment drive

External links

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