NON-essential shops are throwing open their doors today after temporarily shutting due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Clothes and department stores are welcoming customers for the first time in weeks, with Debenhams among those re-opening.
Some 50 stores are due to open up today, with more expected in the near future to bring the total number doing business to 120, out of 142 locations.
Three of its Northern Irish stores have already opened, welcoming customers back from June 8.
But the chain has been struggling for months, going into administration for the second time in a year in April, with the coronavirus closure further hurting sales.
The brand is trying to avoid going into administration, with thousands of job cuts from stores closures and head office going ahead in a bid to save money.
Which stores are re-opening?
Today some 50 stores across the country are re-opening, with three locations in Northern Ireland – Belfast, Newry and Rushmere – opening last week.
Steven Cook, managing director of Debenhams, said: "We are delighted to be welcoming customers back to our stores in the coming weeks.
"Our reopening plans follow the successful conclusion of lease negotiations on 120 stores, meaning that the vast majority of our stores will be reopening."
Stores in Scotland and Wales will re-open dependant on when they ease lockdown restrictions.
Debenhams stores re-opening today
- Bury St Edmunds
- Hemel Hempstead
- Westwood Cross
What are the opening times?
It's thought all 50 shops re-opening today will have reduced opening hours.
The stores indicate they'll be open from 10am until 5pm seven days a week, with no late night shopping on Thursdays, or early morning slots.
As well as scaled back opening hours, the majority of cafes and restaurants in stores have closed and it's thought they'll stay shut.
What are the new rules?
Stores re-opening today are being encouraged to follow the Government's guidelines for safe shopping.
These include maintaining social distance, setting up hand-washing facilities as well as undertaking a CovId-19 assessment.
Debenhams has taken extra safety measures in its stores to protect staff and customers, such as installing new screens.
Steven Cook added: "From the installation of perspex screens at till points to the roll-out of social distancing procedures and PPE, we have been working hard to ensure our colleagues and customers can work and shop with confidence.”
Snaps show Debenhams staff – wearing masks and gloves – installing new signs to remind customers to keep their distance, as well as arrows and markers on the floor.
Other clothing stores have also closed changing rooms and shut down every other till to maintain social distancing, and it's thought Debenhams could follow suit.
Which stores are permanently closing?
Debenhams has permanently closed a number of stores, with the total confirmed number at 20.
It's believed rental terms with the landlord, Intu, is the reason for the closure for three of its stores, at Milton Keynes, Watford and the Metrocentre.
A spokesperson for the chain said: "Sadly we have been unable to agree terms with the landlord.
"As a result these stores will not be re-opening in line with the rest of the chain next week.
"We greatly regret the effect on our colleagues, who have served our customers with commitment and dedication."
Debenhams stores permanently closing
- Kings Lynn
- Merthyr Tydfil
- Milton Keynes
- South Shields
A spokesperson for Intu said: "We are still in discussion with Debenhams and their administrators on the future of their stores across our portfolio, which have to date been positive.
"This is a lengthy process and we are in the final stages of agreeing terms.
"Naturally with a portfolio of large-format stores such as these, they offer great opportunities for alternative uses and we remain optimistic about the future of this valuable retail space."
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