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Debenhams Enters Liquidation, Dozens of Stores Set to Close

By Jon Munnery
1 December 2020

The historic department store chain Debenhams is to enter liquidation with dozens of its outlets across the UK set to be closed.

Having entered administration in April 2019 and again a year later, Debenhams has been fighting for survival for several years but is now on course to be wound down entirely.

Efforts were being made recently by administrators to sell aspects of the Debenhams’ operation but no deliverable proposals have materialised and so the decision has been taken to commence a process of liquidating the business.

Like the UK’s entire high street retail sector, Debenhams faced challenging trading conditions throughout 2019 but this year has proven yet more difficult thanks largely to the coronavirus pandemic.

In recent weeks, the option of instigating a “further restructure” of the Debenhams’ business was considered by its administrators but that prospect was ultimately deemed not to be viable.

“Given the current trading environment and the likely prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic the outlook for a restructured operation is highly uncertain,” official statements given on behalf of Debenhams explain.

Plans are in place for the famous retailer to continue trading across its 124 UK stores and online operations but only in order to clear its current and contracted stocks.

“On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close,” the company has said.

Geoff Rowley, one of Debenhams’ appointed administrators, said after announcing the business’ entry into liquidation: “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.”

Official announcements on Debenhams entry into liquidation came within hours of the Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop, Topman, Burton and Miss Selfridge, being entered into administration.

Jonathan Munnery
Partner
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