Debenhams confirms all its stores will close as new owners take it online

Debenhams Bedford

The administrators of Debenhams have announced today that that boohoo group plc have bought the brand for £55m.

In a statement, FRP Advisory said that once lockdown permits its stores to reopen, its closing down sale will commence and “regrettably, all UK stores will then be permanently closed.”

The brand, in-house brands and websites have been bought by the boohoo group plc, who will operate the new Debenhams business online.

Read: Breaking: Bedford Debenhams set to close as retail chain collapses

FRP Advisory said: “A thorough and robust process has been undertaken by the administrators to achieve the best outcome for Debenhams’ stakeholders.

“This transaction will allow a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge under strong new ownership, including an online operation and the opportunity to secure an international franchise network that will operate under licence using the
Debenhams name.”

One government guidelines permit shops to reopen, Debenhams’ closing down sale will continue in stores for several weeks until the stock liquidation is completed and the value of this stock will be retained for creditors.

Geoff Rowley, Joint Administrator and Partner of FRP Advisory, said: “We are pleased to have secured the future for this great brand, and to have created the opportunity for a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge in a different shape beyond the pandemic.

“I expect that the agreement with boohoo may provide some job opportunities but we
regret that this outcome does not safeguard the jobs of Debenhams’ employees beyond the
winding down period.

“We are very grateful that they have worked tirelessly through this very challenging period and will continue to support the closing down sale. I’d also like to thank the management team, who have worked very hard throughout to protect the business and support us in delivering the best outcome for stakeholders.”

Speaking last year about the future of Debenhams, Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston, said, “It’s devastating news for the staff and the Government must ensure that every effort is being made to save jobs and guarantee the funding of the pension scheme.”

He urged the government to develop a recovery plan for high streets and retail, pointing out that the sector was already struggling even before the pandemic.

“There are substantial issues that have long needed to be addressed likes rents, rates and taxation, to create a level playing field between high streets and online retail,” said Mr Yasin.

“With creative thinking on how we might repurpose our town centres and community spaces, our high streets and jobs can be saved but the Government must provide local government with the investment funding it so desperately needs to tackle this issue.”

More comment and analysis to follow…

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