ALL Debenhams stores across the UK are set to close for good, putting 12,000 jobs at risk, after the high street brand was purchased by an online fashion retailer.

The firm, which has stores in Newcastle's Eldon Square, Sunderland's The Bridges and in Middlesbrough, will see its brand go online-only from next year.

This morning, Boohoo confirmed it had stuck a £55m deal to acquire the Debenhams brand and website, but confirmed the deal did not include any stores or its workforce.

SEE MORE: Remember when Debenhams was set to come to Darlington? A look back at what happened

It comes as Debenhams went into administration last year and announced six of its stores would not be reopening as it continued to trade while hoping to find a buyer.

At the time, all stores in our region stayed open until lockdown restrictions preventing non-essential trade from opening came into force towards the end of Decemeber.

But in a statement today, Boohoo said it intends to "rebuild and relaunch" the brand, "growing" into new categories including beauty, sport and homeware.

Boohoo chief executive John Lyttle said: “The acquisition of the Debenhams brand is an important development for the group, as we seek to capture incremental growth opportunities arising from the accelerating shift to online retail.”

Founder and executive chairman Mahmud Kamani said: “Our acquisition of the Debenhams brand is strategically significant as it represents a huge step which accelerates our ambition to be a leader, not just in fashion e-commerce, but in new categories including beauty, sport and homeware.”

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator for Debenhams and partner of FRP Advisory, said: “We are pleased to have secured the future for this great brand, and to have created the opportunity for a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge in a different shape beyond the pandemic.

“I expect that the agreement with Boohoo may provide some job opportunities but we regret that this outcome does not safeguard the jobs of Debenhams’ employees beyond the winding-down period.”

Boohoo shareholders appeared to welcome the deal, with shares up 4 per cent in early trading on Monday.

However, Shore Capital retail analyst Greg Lawless warned that an online-only operation could hit Debenhams’ beauty sales.

He added: “The big question in beauty is whether the big beauty brands – Clinique and Channel – will remain with Boohoo longer term.

“The Debenhams number one position in premium beauty was predicated on counter sales, which will not form part of this acquisition.”