UK retail chain Debenhams stores are set to close after the last-ditch efforts to rescue it failed. The ailing company had been in administration since April. Hopes of a rescue were over after the last remaining bidder, JD Sports, withdrew. The sale process by its administrator, FRP Advisory, has not resulted in a deliverable proposal, the company said.
This implies all 12,000 employees are likely to lose their jobs when the chain’s 124 shops, which will continue to trade along with its online platform to clear current and contracted stocks, stop trading.
FRP Advisory’s options included a sale of all or part of the UK business, a further restructure of the company’s operations to go forward on a standalone basis, or the orderly wind-down of the Debenhams business.
Given the current trading environment and the likely prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook for a restructured operation is highly uncertain.
The administrator has, therefore, regretfully concluded that they should commence a wind-down of Debenhams UK, whilst continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business, the company said in a press release.
On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close.
This does not impact Magasin du Nord in Denmark, which continues to operate independently.