CONCERNS have been raised over the future of a “popular” Bangor chain store and jobs.

Debenhams, which has 166 stores across the UK has been placed into administration, with its lenders seizing control of the company.

Fears have been raised for about 100 jobs at the Bangor store which is based at the Menai Centre, on Garth Road.

Arfon MP Hywel Williams said “This will be a worrying time for everybody employed by Debenhams in Bangor and I extend my support to all the staff during these uncertain times.’

“I very much hope the Bangor store will be retained in any future round of closures. It brings people to Bangor and in turn helps support the high street. Its presence in the city cannot be underestimated.

“Unfortunately these are very challenging times for the high street and big name outlets aren’t immune to these pressures.”

Haydn Davies, chairman of the Bangor BID (Bangor Improvement District), which represents businesses on the Bangor high street, said: “It would be a devastating blow if we were to lose Bangor’s Debenhams store.

“It is a very popular shop, it is in a good location, it’s spacious and eye-catching.

“It has been a very good servant to Bangor catering for local people’s needs for many years.

“In this economic climate, tough decisions are often being made. It is a concern, we have to wait to hear what is going to happen. There is a Llandudno branch nearby, we hope they don’t have to choose between it and Bangor, or have to close both, but let’s hope we will get to keep both. Who knows it might be good news. We are keeping our fingers crossed.”

USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) Dave Gill said: “This is more devastating news for staff who were already living under the uncertainty of possible store closures since last year.

“Once again, we urge the company to engage with Usdaw the trade union for all Debenhams staff. It’s crucial that the staff and their voice should be heard. We will continue to provide our members with the support and advice they need at this very difficult time.”

“USDAW’s Save Our Shops campaign wants the Government to take urgent action to address the challenges facing retail.”

Administrators have sold the chain group to a newly-incorporated company controlled by Debenhams’ lenders, including hedge funds. as part of a pre-pack administration process. Under the new ownership, Debenhams will have access to £200 million in emergency funding. The move is expected to trigger store closures and job losses as part of a wider restructuring that will see around 50 outlets shut.

The news follows recent closures in Bangor of Burtons, Dorothy Perkins and Poundland.

Mr Davies added: “It is important to realise it is not all bad news in Bangor, we easily get sucked into negative views, but there are positive signs, green shoots, happening in city.

“We have North Wales Partnership finance investment and the Gwynedd Council is offering grants to businesses.

“The Clio Lounge opened on Bangor High Street recently, and is proving to be a very busy venue, and there is a pizza outlet being developed near the cathedral, at the top end of Bangor High Street, in a historic building. They have done an excellent job keeping the character of the building.”