LOCALS have expressed their shock and disappointment following news that department store Debenhams, which has a branch in the Oracle, is on the brink of collapse.

Many are surprised at the news of Debenhams' apparent decline.

Theresa Downes commented on a Facebook post of the article: "I don’t understand why they are on the brink.

"I went shopping with my bestie and it was the only shop in the town that had anything we liked clothes wise - everything.

"Debenhams is a great store."

Ms Downes' views are echoed in other comments, among them Lucie Thumwood, who commented: "They’ve just had a refit and they’ve got so many good brands in there and in make up too."

Some shoppers have said that if the Debenhams store in Reading goes, it will be missed in the shopping centre.

Danny Darcy said: "That will make a big hole in the Oracle."

The company spurned a revised £200m rescue bid by Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley this morning.

The offer involved underwriting a rights issue which would see existing investors buying newly issued shares and is an advance on an £150 million plan tabled on Monday, which was rejected.

But lenders to Debenhams said the latest proposal, on the terms set out, was "not sufficient".

The move is expected to trigger store closures and job losses as part of a wider restructuring that will see around 50 outlets shut via a Company Voluntary Arrangement.

Concerns by readers have been expressed about the loss of jobs this could potentially cause in the area.

Lisa Sawyer commented: "Let's worry for those who will lose their jobs", while others indicated that the store needs updating - Tasha Goodman said: "It's very old fashioned now. They need new buyers and their own products to sell... mostly concessions in the store."