Last week it was announced that the Debenhams in Southside was one of 22 stores around the UK earmarked for closure.

Now leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia has spoken out about the tough times hitting the high streets.

"The arrival of Debenhams in Wandsworth town centre in 2015 signalled a new chapter for both the town centre and Southside shopping centre," he said.

"It was a key milestone in the regeneration of the town which has been transformed over the last twenty years.

"I’m therefore disappointed at the news that it that is earmarked for closure next year.

"The challenges faced by the department store sector and Debenhams in particular have been well publicised and ultimately the sector and our town centres need to adapt to changing consumer tastes."

The department store chain has announced a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which will see the affected shops continue trading until early 2020.

Terry Duddy, executive chairman of Debenhams also highlighted the challenges of being a high street store.

"The issues facing the UK high street are very well known.

"Debenhams has a clear strategy and a bright future, but in order for the business to prosper, we need to restructure the group's store portfolio and its balance sheet, which are not appropriate for today's much-changed retail environment.

"Our priority is to save as many stores and as many jobs as we can, while making the business fit for the future."

The retailer announced that it would pursue a restructuring last year, but the path for the process has now been cleared after control of the company was passed to its lenders.

Cllr Govindia wrote to Debenhams last week to thank them for their contribution to Wandsworth.

"Debenhams worked closely with the council’s Workmatch service to place local people into the jobs created here and I have offered our continuing support to assist them find work elsewhere in the borough," he said.

"I am confident that Wandsworth town centre will weather this setback.

"It continues to attract investment, creating new homes and jobs.

"We are working closely with TfL on the removal of the gyratory which will be transformative for the town centre, creating a great destination for local communities and visitors alike.

"The council will continue to press TfL for the earliest possible start on this vital project.

"Wandsworth is a borough of opportunity and there are many employment opportunities available now and in the future."