It has been two and a half years since the Debenhams stores in Suffolk closed their doors for the final time and, with Christmas just around the corner, shoppers are missing the department chain. 

In May 2021, high street giant Debenhams closed its doors for the final time after the 242-year-old chain went into liquidation.

The company entered administration in April 2019 and again the following year, and was finally bought by online retailer Boohoo in January 2021 for £55 million, closing all of the high street stores. 

The Ipswich branch closed on May 4, 2021, in the first wave of store closures after the East Anglian property giant The UNEX Group purchased the building for £3 million. 

UNEX was originally planning to maintain the ground floor as retail space but managing director Adrian Morris said earlier this year that potential tenants were put off by the market stalls directly outside. 

This was disputed by traders.

East Anglian Daily Times: Escalators standing still inside Ipswich Debenhams storeEscalators standing still inside Ipswich Debenhams store (Image: Archant)

In January 2022, images taken inside the empty store showed the space of the large building. 

Work began on a new roof for the building in February this year, but there are no new tenants, and the building remains empty.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Primark will open in early 2024The Primark will open in early 2024 (Image: Newsquest)

The Bury St Edmunds Arc store is being turned into Primark which is due to open at the start of 2024, according to the signage outside. 

The Primark branding was revealed on the outside of the former Debenhams in October.

The basement area is set to be transformed into a cinema after a license application was submitted in February this year. 

The cinema will have three screens and a bar and restaurant, which will be open from 8am to 3am all week. 

No date for the cinema has been confirmed.