Next to launch new beauty hall concept in former Debenhams stores
Next has sealed a deal to transform five former Debenhams beauty departments into its own new beauty hall concept.
The fashion retailer said it has agreed a deal with retail landlord Hammerson for the new beauty hall sites, as fashion stores remain closed amid the coronavirus lockdown.
It said the sites – which will trade as The Beauty Hall from Next – will include Bullring & Grand Central Birmingham, Silverburn Glasgow, and Highcross Leicester.
Next said it is also in discussions for a "small number" of further sites, as it continues to grow its beauty business.
Last year, it acquired the Fabled beauty brand from Ocado, after an initial online collaboration in the previous year.
The high street stalwart said it is working with its retail teams and brand partners to ensure its stores adhere to Government social distancing guidelines and are safe for customers and staff when they open.
It added that it plans to hire staff with beauty retail experience and is therefore "likely" to offer positions to former Debenhams staff.
Simon Wolfson, Next's chief executive, said: "This is an exciting opportunity to work with existing and new beauty brand partners to create a new force in beauty retailing – bringing our online business to life through premium store environments in some of the UK's most important retail locations."
David Atkins, Hammerson's chief executive, said: "This is a really challenging time for all of us, so it's really encouraging to see strong, innovative brands like Next work with us to plan for the future.
"This is another example of how we are re-purposing department store space and improving the shopping experience for consumers.
"The Beauty Hall from Next is a great concept and it's a real vote of confidence in our flagship destinations that Next has chosen these locations to launch its new offer."
The deal is a boost to shopping centre owner Hammerson, which saw its £400 million deal to sell seven UK retail parks collapse on Wednesday.