Debenhams has announced a £25million refurbishment of its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street.
Work has begun on the renovation programme that will add an additional trading floor to the shop, bringing the total number of storeys to seven.
Every department will be overhauled during the refurbishment. Highlights include a complete makeover of the cosmetics department, which will re-launch as Debenhams’ biggest ever Beauty Hall; more Designer departments than ever before across three floors of fashion; three new cafes and restaurants; and the retailer’s biggest ever shoe hall and lingerie department.
In all, 100% of the flooring and ceiling will be replaced, walkways will be 20% wider and the store will benefit from 10% more selling space.
The work will culminate with an entirely new store front, designed to make Debenhams “a retail beacon on Oxford Street”. One of the priorities of the project will be to flood the 55-year-old building with light. The exterior will be covered in thousands of suspended aluminium panels that will move in response to the wind and reflect light to create a fluid effect. Shop entrances will be opened up completely, 20 new windows added and a new 25-metre skylight installed in the atrium.
Debenhams marketing director Richard Cristofoli said: “Our vision is to create a branded environment that redefines Debenhams in the West End and beyond, representing a vibrant and relevant concept for the future.
“Once completed, Oxford Street will be a true flagship, setting the standard in the UK as well as becoming a symbol for our international expansion. It will be the benchmark for a department store experience that is enticing, inspiring and celebrates what makes us unique.”
The company said that the undertaking is the biggest single re-development Oxford Street has ever seen. The store will not be closing to customers during the year-long programme.
The store modification runs alongside the relocation of the Debenhams’ head office staff from three buildings directly behind the store, to a new office in Regent’s Park. The executive offices, which were housed above the Oxford Street store, are in the process of moving, adding 20,000sq ft of selling space and the expansion of operational areas.
Debenhams, which celebrates 200 years in business in September, trades out of 240 stores across 28 countries.