Founded in the 18th century as a single drapers’ shop in London at 44 Wigmore Street by William Clark, Debenhams has grown immensely since then to have more than 240 stores in 28 countries. Throughout the years it has gone through several name changes. In 1813, William Debenham took over and the firm became known as Clark & Debenham. In 1851, Clement Freebody invested and it was renamed Debenham and Freebody, with a wholesale business attached selling cloth to dressmakers.
The first store outside London was acquired in 1818 in Cheltenham. During the 19th century, retail, wholesale and manufacturing businesses were taken on, and the company spread as far as South Africa, China and Australia.
Now retailing as a clothing and homeware department store, the largest Debenhams shop currently is at the Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham, opened on the 4th September 2003 at a size of 19,230 square metres.
The company has gone through several changes, including being part of the Burton group, from which it demerged in January 1998. November 2009 saw Debenhams taking on Magasin Du Nord, a Danish department store group of 6 stores for £12.3 million.
It has fared well through the recession, taking on 115 Faith concession stores when they went into administration in July 2010, and announcing the building of 14 new stores in April 2012. The flagship store in Oxford Street is currently undergoing a refurbishment including an outside installation of 180,000 aluminium tiles for the visual effect of the store rippling in the wind; this is expected to be complete in February 2014. The current headquarters of Debenhams since 2013 is Brock Street, London.
Debenhams has acquired many awards over the years, including Highly Commended in the Drapers Fashion Awards 2011; shortlisted in the Oracle Retail Week Awards 2012; and crowned ‘Best One Stop Shop’ in the Fabulous High Street Fashion Awards 2011.
Debenhams is known for its ‘Designers at Debenhams’ brand, created in 1993. This brings big names and brands at high street prices such as John Rocha, Jasper Conan, H! by Henry Holland and Star by Julien Macdonald.
5 Reasons to Use
- Mobile app which allows customers to scan product barcodes in store and shop online.
- Supports numerous charities including: Think Pink, Children in Need and Movember.
- Designer clothing at high street prices.
- More than 170 stores in the UK, Ireland and Denmark.
- Strong online presence with website and social media.
Debenhams have a reliable returns, exchanges and refunds policy. Most items can be returned, excluded products such as cosmetics in opened packaging, food and alcohol products that have been removed from original packaging and underwear/lingerie without original hygiene strips and tags.
Aside from these exceptions, purchases can refunded if they are returned in resaleable condition within 28 days of delivery or purchase; the 28 days on Click & Collect orders begins after you have received the ‘Order Ready for Collection’ email. The payment is refunded to card you originally used to pay, including gift cards, within 3 to 5 working days of your return in store.
If you choose to return an item by post, you will have received a Freepost Royal Mail returns label in your parcel to use for this, or you can download one from the website. You must indicate your reason for return along with the item and obtain a proof of postage from the Post Office. Postage should take no more than 10 working days, and your refund will be processed to your card within 3 to 5 working days following this. Items can also be returned via courier collection. You can arrange this collection via the number on the outside of your parcel or on the Debenhams website.