Debenhams end of an era

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In April, Debenhams will be a thing of the past as they are to be renamed ERA Department Stores with one Nicosia branch closing altogether.

Debenhams stores Cyprus owner Ermes Department Stores Plc, the retail arm of CTC Group, announced that the stores are to be rebranded with the Debenhams branch in the Mall of Engomi, Nicosia closing.

The store will stay open for business until Sunday, March 29, together with the Venue Cafe and the UBER store housed in the same building, after which date all three will close permanently.

It noted that the stores NEXT, OVS and Superhome Centre in the Mall of Engomi will continue operations normally.

Ermes also owns franchise stores Next, OVS, Peacocks, Navy & Green, UBER, Armani Exchange and Women’secret and DIY stores Superhome Centre.

“Within the framework of our staff reshuffle, our company is making every possible effort to transfer as many staff as possible to the company’s remaining Nicosia stores. Every staff member affected by the changes will be notified via a personal letter,” the company said.

The decision taken to close the Mall of Engomi stores is believed to have come after the increased competition in the capital from the new Nicosia Mall.

Apart from the new Nicosia Mall, which opened in December 2018, many retailers from supermarkets to DIY have increased their presence in the Cyprus Market.

The competition will further increase when an outlet village opens its gates sometime this year in Kokkinotrimithia, less than a kilometre away from the Nicosia Mall.

Based on European shopping villages, which are gaining popularity across the continent, the Neo Plaza fashion outlet is built over an area in Kokkinotrimithia of more than 35,000 sqm.

It will be the island’s first designer outlet and entertainment village.

IKEA has expanded to Limassol last July with a “Design Centre” offering customers the opportunity to buy items on the spot, while ordering any unavailable ones.

Customers can design and order furniture for their homes at the centre, with IKEA management planning to expand the 1000 sqm store.

Meanwhile, competition is also heating up between supermarkets with Paphos-based Papantoniou opening shop in the capital’s tough competitive market, aiming to take a piece of the pie from established giants.

Following the opposite route, Alpha Mega supermarkets have opened in Paphos.

Papantoniou is betting on its deal with UK supermarket giants Sainsbury’s to attract customers, especially British expats and Turkish Cypriot consumers who show a preference for UK products, as the supermarket is not far from the Ayios Dhometios checkpoint.

The deal with Sainsbury’s was announced last year with a range of items from food, beverages, cosmetics, toiletries to pet foods.

Sources said this cooperation is expected to grow as demand for Sainsburys’ products is constantly increasing, with owners planning to increase the variety of goods imported.

Alpha Mega, on the other hand, are aiming at the same target group, utilising their deal with UK supermarket giants Tesco.