HAVERFORDWEST’S Debenhams store is to close in little over a month, with 45 staff losing their jobs.

The Haverfordwest store, on the Withybush retail estate, had previously gained a breathing space when 22 store closures were announced back in April after the company stated it was going into administration.

In the early April statement, the company said it would be undertaking a review of their stores, which, if approved, would result in store closures to help reduce “rent burden”.

In April, Debenhams named 22 of the 50 stores planned for closure – with no Welsh stores named -  as part of a plan by new owners, which include Barclays and Bank of Ireland, as well as US investment, to revive the chain.

At the time, Terry Duddy, Debenhams’ chairman, said: “We remain focused on protecting as many stores and jobs as possible, consistent with establishing a sustainable store portfolio in line with our previous guidance.”

Speaking about the Haverfordwest store closure, a spokesman said: “Following the decision to redevelop the site, our store will close in November. We are keeping our colleagues and customers informed and thank them for their understanding.

“We had hoped to keep the store open, but the landlord has decided to use the space for other purposes. The nearest Debenhams store will now be at Carmarthen.”

Assembly Member Paul Davies has warned that the closure of Haverfordwest’s Debenhams store will have a detrimental impact on the local economy.

Mr Davies said that the decision to close the store was deeply disappointing and the loss of jobs will be a blow for those families affected: “I’m saddened to hear that Debenhams will be closing its Haverfordwest store in November as the store is a valued employer in the local area.

“The store provided local jobs and was a benefit to the local community. I will of course, make representations to Debenhams to ascertain some of the details around the decision-making that has led to this closure, as well as asking about support for those employees affected by this announcement.

“It’s vital that moving forward, those affected by this news are supported as much as possible.” 

Assembly Member Joyce Watson AM said: “This is a devastating blow to Haverfordwest, with 45 workers due to lose their jobs before Christmas.

“Debenhams has been a local mainstay and the impact of this closure will ripple out beyond Withybush Retail Park to the store’s suppliers and our wider local economy.

“If this decision cannot be changed then steps must be taken to prepare these workers for their next steps.

“I want to see action to support the workers through this process, with every assistance to help find training and alternatives, such as the Welsh Government-funded Redundancy Action Scheme (ReAct).

“I will be monitoring this situation closely.”