”The Debenhams store retail equipment auction on behalf of Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster represents an excellent example of why retail operators should work with us to reduce their clearance costs, generate significant funds and sustainably reuse their second-hand equipment. Over 400 items were given an extended life, mainly being purchased by local SMEs, whilst generating £29,000 and massively reducing landfill waste.” 

Paul Esson, NCM Auctions


Frenchgate Shopping Centre, based in Doncaster, needed a large retail unit clearing of its assets at short notice. The former Debenhams store held many valuable retail assets and equipment that had been left behind. The assets included catering, retail and restaurant equipment and furniture. In the final weeks before the clearance deadline, NCM Auctions were recommended as a sustainable auction partner for the project by a previous client within Doncaster Council.

Our Objectives

> Work quickly to achieve a high financial return for the surplus assets within the required timelines

> Provide a complete solution with a single point of contact

> Reuse the saleable assets while supporting a range of downstream SMEs, charities and social enterprises

> Evidence the social, environmental and economic benefits of partnering with NCM Auctions

> Demonstrate a new, sustainable clearance and sales channel for Frenchgate Shopping Centre

How we did it

NCM Auctions were appointed just in time to hit the clearance deadline – leaving just ten days to catalogue, market, auction and clear the unit. As the first step, an initial site survey identified over 500 ‘saleable’ assets.

With time constraints so tight, NCM Auctions built the sale catalogue and put together a multi-channel marketing plan for the auction within 2 days. An intensive 4-day campaign was immediately actioned, launching simultaneously across both traditional and digital channels.

Collections for purchased assets were organised and overseen in situ, taking place over a 2 day period to ensure the clearance deadline was hit.


Our marketing campaign ran across a number of platforms including Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Email campaigns and Auction Industry advertising platforms. Our marketing approach led to a huge return on investment for us and our client:

Impressions = 34,000

Ad Reach = 22,000

Email Reach = 40,000


The auction was simulcast across multiple platforms providing global reach for bidders. The auction lots achieved over 1,500 bids and over 15,000 auction views, with 82% of all lots sold, raising £29,000 at hammer value.


Alongside the financial benefits, it’s important to demonstrate the proven environmental gains and advantages to the local community and economy by reusing surplus assets. The result is a tangible set of outcomes that can be used to help validate corporate, social and environmental responsibilities. Over 10 tonnes of potential waste was diverted from landfill.

Helping Communities

The auction has allowed surplus assets to be repurposed – growing companies, launching new business ventures, helping communities and charities across the UK and beyond. The type of assets and equipment included in the Debenhams store auction are especially important to third sector non-profits. C400 retail assets were purchased to be reused by SMEs.