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Debenhams sale leaves 925,000 customers stuck in 'virtual queue' after firm's collapse

Debenhams virtual queue
The 70% off sale is expected to be the last sale for Debenhams after the company announced it would be put into liquidation. Photo:

Customers have been left stuck in a “virtual queue” on Debenhams’ website on Wednesday morning as the department store’s site was overwhelmed by shoppers looking for deals after the company collapsed.

Debenhams launched a stock clearance “fire sale” at 7am on Wednesday morning as non-essential retailers in England reopened after the country’s month-long second lockdown.

Online shoppers received a message on the website reading: “Sorry for the wait, we are currently using a virtual queue due to exceptional demand.

“We will get you onto the site as soon as possible.”

Customers were then informed of their “expected arrival time on the website” and estimated wait time.


More than 925,000 shoppers were stuck in the virtual queue according to reports by the Evening Standard.

Customers complained on Twitter that the website was crashing completely while they were in the virtual queue when reached the checkout page.

The 70% off sale is expected to be the last sale for Debenhams after the company announced it would be put into liquidation after rescue talks failed.

Operations will continue until all stock is cleared, at which point the 242-year-old business will shut for good unless a last minute buyer emerges, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

WATCH: Debenhams set to shut after 242 years

All 124 UK stores are set to close, with 12,000 jobs likely to be lost.

JD Sports (JD.L) had been involved in exclusive discussions with Debenhams but said in a statement on Tuesday it had ended takeover talks with the department store, which fell into administration in April.

A spokesperson for Debenhams said administrators had “regretfully” decided liquidation was now the only option after a sale process failed to sound out any other potential buyers.

Experts said Debenhams’ rescue talks were scuppered by the collapse of Arcadia on Monday night. Arcadia, which owns brands like TopShop and Dorothy Perkins, operates concessions within Debenhams’ department stores. Arcadia’s brands account for an estimated 5% of Debenhams’ revenues and the demise of Arcadia threw significant doubt on Debenhams’ future.

WATCH: UK retailer Debenhams to be liquidated