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CLICK ON THE TIMELINE DATES BELOW TO SEE OUR HISTORY
William Clark sows the seeds of what will become one of the world’s leading retailers by establishing a drapers store at 44 Wigmore Street in London’s West End. Selling expensive fabrics, gloves, bonnets and parasols, for 25 years the venture proved very successful.
William Debenham invests in the enterprise and the firm becomes Clark & Debenham. Prospering from the Victorian fashion for family mourning by which widows and other female relatives adhered to a strict code of clothing and etiquette, the organisation prospers and stores appear across the country.
Seeing a good thing in the making, Clement Freebody buys his way into the business. Forming Debenham & Freebody. The business expands its retail stores and establishes a wholesale business selling fabrics to dressmakers and other large retailers.
Debenham & Freebody acquires many retail, wholesale and manufacturing businesses. And starts international expansion with offices opening in South Africa, Australia, Canada and China.
Debenhams Ltd. is born. And after further acquisitions the business merges with Marshall & Snellgrove.
The organisation buys prominent Knightsbridge retailer, Harvey Nichols.
Some 114 years after William Debenham first invested in the retailer, the involvement of the Debenham family ends, leading to the business becoming a public company the following year.
Debenhams becomes the largest department store group in the UK - owning 84 companies and 110 stores.
Brown's of Chester is purchased. (Of all the stores bought, the Chester store was the only one to retain its name when all others were rebranded in 1997. A homage to its past that still remains to this day.)
The Burton Group buys Debenhams and its position in the market changes with the introduction of exclusive brands and merchandise.
After 70 years under Debenhams control, the organisation sells Harvey Nichols.
Designers at Debenhams is launched, offering customers exclusive ranges from leading names in fashion design.
Debenhams is demerged from the Burton Group and floated on the London Stock Exchange. That doesn’t stop the first international store opening in Bahrain.
Debenhams is acquired by Baroness Retail Ltd.
The brand returns to the London Stock Exchange in May.
Debenhams acquires nine stores from Roches in the Republic of Ireland. The store on Henry Street, Dublin, is now one of our three flagship stores.
Danish retailer, Magasin du Nord, is acquired. Retaining their own brand name, the Copenhagen store is the third of our flagship stores alongside those on Oxford Street and in Dublin.
Debenhams wins ‘ReThink Retail Technology Initiative of the Year’ and ‘International Growth Initiative of the Year’ awards at the Oracle Retail Week Awards.
We complete the multi-million-pound modernisation of our flagship Oxford Street store.
Debenhams operates out of over 250 stores, worldwide. With over 25,000 employees reflecting our reputation for delivering the latest styles and exceptional shopping experiences.