With almost a year of the Covid pandemic, the impact has been felt on Swindon's high street. 

A number of top brands have abandoned the town centre, either because of financial collapse or new stores opening elsewhere. 

Swindon Advertiser:


The first big brand to close was Debenhams. The department store was already in financial trouble before the Covid pandemic but the first national lockdown and the enforced closure of retail seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. 

Swindon's town centre Debenhams store closed with the rest of the country but in April it was revealed it would not be reopening. 

READ MORE: Debenhams confirms store closure

The company told the Adver it had been unable to reach a deal with landlords Meadow Residential. The building had been home to a department store for more than half a century.

It is thought that 150 employees lost their jobs because of the closure. 

The shuttering of the massive store also meant the end of the Costa franchise located on the ground floor.

Swindon Advertiser:

House Of Fraser

Staying with department stores, there was some good news with the planned closure of House of Fraser being cancelled. 

The Brunel Centre shop was due to close on September 27 but was saved the day before with all 58 jobs remaining.

READ MORE: House of Fraser saved from closure

Manager Gareth Naffine said: "All redundancy talks will now be concluded and it's business as usual. 

"Exciting times ahead for the store, the team and of course the town."

Swindon Advertiser:


The Brunel Centre supermarket closed its doors in November last year after more than half a century at the site.

The company said the closure wasn't due to local finances but was part of a national campaign to close stores.

READ MORE: Sainsbury's closed for good

The unit still sits empty four months on with no new owner in sight.

Swindon Advertiser:

River Island

While this fashion chain has closed its town centre store, it will remain in Swindon at the Orbital Shopping Centre when its new store opens after the latest lockdown.

Rumours started to swirl around New Year when the Orbital store announced a February opening, earlier in 2020 River Island had confirmed its town centre leases would end in December.

READ MORE: River Island officially closes town centre store

The store did open at the start of January but the third national lockdown forced its closure and it will not reopen.

Swindon Advertiser:

John Lewis

Outside of the town centre, John Lewis made the decision to close its At Home store at the Mannington Retail Park. 

READ MORE: John Lewis to close permanently

The company confirmed in July the store was one of four At Home stores it closing across the country. The others were in Croydon, Newbury and Tamworth.

A statement from the John Lewis Partnership said: "If redundancies are confirmed, every effort would be made to find new roles where possible for Partners who wish to remain within the Partnership."

The company added the eight stores had already been identified as 'financially challenged' before the pandemic and the coronavirus has accelerated the process.