Thousands of jobs at risk as Debenhams faces closure

Picture of Debenhams store from exterior

Debenhams in Norwich is one of the stores across the UK awaiting its fate now a buyer has pulled out. - Credit: Archant

Up to 12,000 workers at Debenhams, with a store in Norwich, face agonising uncertainty after JD Sports withdrew a bid for the ailing retailer. Debenhams said it will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks. But if no buyer is found, stores will close down.
"On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close," the company said in a statement.
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.
"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. JD Sports, the last bidder for the retail giant which is in administration, is believed to have been influenced by the collapse of the Arcadia Group.

The group, with brands like Burton and Dorothy Perkins, operate huge concessions in Debenhams.
Arcadia’s collapse is understood to potentially have sealed Debenhams' fate. 

Debenhams has already axed 6,500 jobs and went into administration eight months ago for the second time this year. The firm, which also has stores in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, Suffolk, operates around 130 stores on long leases. With no buyer on the horizon it faces liquidation.

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