Debenhams shops face closure with 12,000 jobs at risk

1 December 2020, 10:08 | Updated: 1 December 2020, 10:11

Debenhams has confirmed it will start winding down operations
Debenhams has confirmed it will start winding down operations. Picture: PA

JD Sports has confirmed that it has pulled out of rescue talks with high street store Debenhams.

Debenhams stores are facing closure after rescue talks with JD Sports were terminated, it has been confirmed.

Administrators of the high street store are set to start a wind-down of its UK operation, while continuing to look for offers for all of - or parts of - the business.

Read more: Is Topshop closing? Arcadia Group goes into administration

JD Sports confirmed this morning that it had pulled out of rescue talks with the store.

It was said to be interested in the company due to the fact that its website is among the most popular shopping destinations.

Debenhams stores are facing collapse
Debenhams stores are facing collapse. Picture: PA

However, in a letter to investors, the chain has now confirmed that these talks have ended.

It said: "JD Sports Fashion Plc, the leading retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands, confirms that discussions with the administrators of Debenhams regarding a potential acquisition of the UK business have now been terminated."

Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory, joint administrator to Debenhams, said: "All reasonable steps were taken to complete a transaction that would secure the future of Debenhams.

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"However, the economic landscape is extremely challenging and, coupled with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry, a viable deal could not be reached.

"The decision to move forward with a closure programme has been carefully assessed and, while we remain hopeful that alternative proposals for the business may yet be received, we deeply regret that circumstances force us to commence this course of action.

"We are very grateful for the efforts of the management team and staff who have worked so hard throughout the most difficult of circumstances to keep the business trading."

There are 124 Debenhams stores in the UK
There are 124 Debenhams stores in the UK. Picture: PA

According to reports, the only remaining potential buyer seems to be House of Fraser owner Mike Ashley, who previously owned 30 per cent of Debenhams. He lost £150million when the chain was taken over by lenders last year.

If rescue talks collapse, it could lead its liquidation.

Debenhams has 124 stores and employs around 12,000 people.

It is reported that the announcement that Arcadia would go into administration impacted JD Sports' decision, with many Arcadia staff working at brands' concessions in Debenhams.


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