By Lucy Ashton

Debenhams stores are set to close after the failure of last-ditch efforts to rescue the ailing store chain.

It means all 12,000 employees are likely to lose their jobs when the chain’s 124 shops cease trading.

The news comes just hours after Topshop owner Arcadia fell into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

Debenhams itself had been in administration since April. Hopes of a rescue were crushed after the last remaining bidder, JD Sports, withdrew.  Staff were told the news on Tuesday morning.

We have never had a Debenhams store in West Dunbartonshire but we all recall their Glasgow store in Argyle Street and how we looked forward to a visit there at Christmas.

My Grandmother would take us to see Santa Claus who was in his grotto five or six storeys up.

And there was always a long, long winding queue of parents and happy children  all the way down the stairs to the front door and even out into the street.

Lewis’s had a tearoom, where everyone was “taken” for fish and chips – “a fish tea” – and then there was Lewis’s deli counter which was the best if not the first in Glasgow.

Cold meats, cheeses and gherkins and other pickles, they had them all.

And then you got a sweetie for the bus home from Waterloo Street bus station, where to amuse themselves the children counted the TV aerials all the way from Whiteinch to Dumbarton.

Every child had a photograph taken with the great man and many people still have a souvenir copy of that picture., either on their own or with their brothers and sisters.

If you are the proud possessor of a picture taken with Santa, whether it was taken in Lewis’s  store or in a local store, such as the Co-op in High Street, Dumbarton, Valeco in Bank Street, Alexandria, or the Clydebank Co-op in Clydebank, or even in the street as used to happen,  then please send it for publication to The Editor at or

The Debenham closure, along with the same thing happening at Arcadia, is a disaster for the retain industry and for High Streets and town centres across the UK.

We need something to cheer us up at this difficult time in what’s been a terrible year. I am certain these pictures will help to change the mood while we can also rejoice at the distribution of the vaccine for corona virus.

It’s going be a case of grimace and grin as the needle goes into your arm from next Tuesday, December 8. Rejoice, rejoice.

George Square in Glasgow – all lit up for Christmas. Pictures by Lorraine Herbison

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