TWO major high street retailers are set to close, in what has been described as a ‘devastating blow’ for Basingstoke.

Debenhams, which has occupied a flagship spot in Festival Place since the shopping centre opened in 2002, is preparing to close its 124 branches nationally after a rescue package fell through.

It comes after the Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop and Dorothy Perkins in Festival Place, announced it was going into administration.

All stores will remain trading for the time being. 

Neil Churchill, centre director for Festival Place, said he hoped there was a chance the stores could be rescued, saying: “Obviously it’s incredibly sad news. Debenhams and Topshop are much-loved stores not only in Basingstoke but across the whole country. There is still a chance that the future of these businesses can be secured, and we wait to see.”

You can read the full story in this week’s edition of The Gazette. Also in this week's paper:

  • A Basingstoke man has escaped jail after repeatedly punching and kicking a friend in the face during a drunken outburst.
  • The owner of an unusual Basigstoke house - appropriately named The Tardis - looks to uncover more of its history as it goes up for sale.
  • PICTURED: A Basingstoke park has undergone a £258,000 transformation. 
  • A popular Basingstoke man has taken his life after succumbing to mental health pressures, loved ones said. 
  • Heartfelt tributes have been paid to long-serving councillor Anne Court, who has passed away at the age of 65. 
  • A county lines drug dealer who fatally stabbed a man to get hold of his drugs has been found guilty of murder.
  • The headteacher of a Basingstoke secondary school has hit out at motorists who have verbally abused him and his staff over a road closure.
  • Covid marshals are being deployed to Basingstoke town centre to ensure visitors and businesses are following the rules.
  • PLUS: All the latest from Basingstoke Magistrates' Court.
  • Three pages of your letters to the editor.
  • An eight-page First Class supplement celebrating this year's primary school intake. 
  • An eight-page puzzle special.
  • Business news.
  • Three pages of entertainment news.
  • Four pages of sports news. And much more!

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