SOUTHAMPTON'S Debenhams department store has been saved in the latest cull of stores by the retailer.

Most Hampshire branches of Debenhams have avoided the latest round of cuts as the High Street business battles for survival.

The chain has announced 19 store closures including its store in Southsea.

It says the closures are needed for a rescue plan announced last year and up to 50 are set to close. It has around 160 shops across the UK.

Debenhams has stores in Winchester, Southampton, Portsmouth and Fareham.

The current Southampton store is close to Hoglands Park, on a prime city centre site, which has been a department store for decades.

It was formerly known as Edwin Jones, which opened the Queensway store 1959 after it was constructed to replace the earlier shop lost during the Blitz in 1940.

The Winchester branch has been on the High Street for decades and was previously called Sherriff and Ward.

Chief executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste is reported to have said: “We are working hard to implement the transformation of Debenhams. Despite a challenging retail environment, thanks to our colleagues’ hard work and our investor group’s commitment we are progressing with our turnaround.”

The Southsea branch will close on January 19.

An estimated 140,000 jobs have been lost in 2019 because of store closures as customers switch to online shopping.