This is what its like inside Preston's Debenham's store in its last week of trading

Debenhams in Preston will close for good in a week. We went along to see what people were buying and whether there are any bargains worth having.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 5:10 pm

"This is the busiest I've seen it in years, what a shame".

That's what someone said in the queue behind me as I waited in line for 15 minutes to buy a £3 t-shirt. And she wasn't wrong - it was very busy - but quite a sobering experience.

>>>Click here to read more about the closure on May 12.

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There is a cardboard box in ladieswear of bedding

Gone are the nicely-presented concessions, tidy floor spaces, the bustling coffee shop, and big-brand makeup and perfume.

Now, a lot of the shop floor is empty, naked mannequins stand behind windows blocked out by neon 'Everything Must Go' posters, the coffee shop is closed up, and what is left is an odd mix of items thrown together on racks.

Christmas jumpers were hanging on metal rails next to a mish-mash collection of shorts and dressing gowns, and enormous cardboard boxes filled with duvet covers had been placed in empty sections of ladieswear, where you used to find the likes of Miss Selfridge.

>>>Click here to read what Preston s MP has had to say on the closure.

Scenes today inside the Preston store

Trolleys with empty coat hangers were abandoned, handwritten cardboard signs and marker pens had been flung into a corner, and many clothes were slung on the floor or over a metal rail.

The makeup and perfume department had been cleaned out, so there are just empty carcasses of counters where Dior and Elizabeth Arden used to be bought from, albeit some have been filled messily with boxes of crystal glasses and tumblers.

In fact the only makeup I could see was a jumble of bits and bobs that looked like they could have been testers.

Upstairs in the children's section, if you happened to have a young child of up to 18 months old, you have a lot more choice and it is worth a look.

Clothes strewn over railings and on the floor

There were plenty of baby-grows and very young children's clothes - more girls than boys - but virtually nothing in the 4-5 size that I was looking at for my son.

As I stood in the queue on the top floor, I could see plenty of young mums pushing prams with dozens of items under their arms.

I did buy my son one long-sleeved t-shirt for £3, marked down from £10, and although the offer was 'buy one get one free' on children's wear, there wasn't another one to have, and I didn't want two of the same anyway.

In homeware, there were quite a few slow cookers and pan sets still available, as well as crystal glasses, place mats and mug trees, but many of the shelves lay empty.

Empty shelves in homewear

Staff were few and far between - mainly manning the very busy checkouts - and understandably, given the situation, looking under pressure. Nobody I asked wanted to comment, but one member of staff reportedly began to cry when speaking to a customer about leaving the job they had enjoyed doing for years.

So, all-in-all, quite a depressing shopping experience for me, being a Prestonian who has visited that shop, in that location, all my life.

But there are bargains to be had - if you have the time to rifle through the piles of clothes, the rails of mixed up items, and have the patience to queue.

And hardly any childrens wear left apart from the baby stuff
Big queues at every till
Hardly any childrens wear left apart from the baby stuff
Slim pickings at Debenhams
Empty concessions stands in the makeup and perfume areas