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12,000 jobs at risk

Debenhams collapse adds to high street jobs toll

Debenhams store Edinburgh

Another retail giant fails (pic: Terry Murden)

Department store chain Debenhams is expected to close after JD Sports confirmed it was pulling out of a rescue deal and administrators were unable to find a buyer.

The failure of talks puts around 12,000 jobs at risk, adding to 13,000 at the Arcadia empire which plunged into administration yesterday.

Administrators to Debenhams, FRP Advisory, announced this morning that they continue to seek buyers for all or parts of the business but have begun winding down its operations.

JD Sports pulled out following the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s high street empire Arcadia which held significant concessions in Debenhams and were a major contributor to revenue, worth £75m a year in sales.


Debenhams will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks. If no alternative offers are received for the firm, the UK operations will close.

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator to Debenhams and partner at FRP, 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.”

He said administrators “remain hopeful” that alternative proposals for the business will be received.

“We deeply regret that circumstances force us to commence this course of action,” he said.

“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.

“We would also like to thank the landlords, suppliers and partners who have continued to work with Debenhams through this turbulent period and can reassure them that all contractual obligations entered into in the administration period will be met in full.”

Richard Lim, chief executive at Retail Economics, said: “This is a truly devastating week for the high street. This puts up to 25,000 jobs at risk in just a couple of days. 

“The reality is that Debenhams has been outmanoeuvred by more nimble competitors, failed to embrace change and was left with a tiring proposition. The impact of the pandemic has accelerated its demise but underlying issues within the business were the root cause.”

Shop jobs at risk as Arcadia falls into administration

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