Debenhams enters ‘light touch’ administration to protect the business during coronavirus shutdown

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Debenhams Bedford

Further to speculation last week, Debenhams has now confirmed it will file for administration in order to protect the firm from legal action from creditors.

Debenhams’ boss, Stefaan Vansteenkiste said it will allow the group “to resume trading from our stores when government restrictions are lifted.

“We are striving to protect jobs and reopen as many Debenhams stores for trading as we can, as soon as this is possible.”

Read: Another blow to Bedford town centre as Debenhams faces administration ‘as early as next week’

It has not been confirmed how many of the 142 Debenhams stores will reopen following the coronavirus shutdown.

The branch in Bedford has survived a recent cull of closures by the department store’s owners.

Prior to the administration announcement, Debenhams had announced plans to close 22 stores this year and a further 28 in 2021.

“In the current context, retail is facing its toughest challenge perhaps ever, not only from the immediate crisis but also national and international trends causing problems for all large chains,” said Henry Vann, town centre portfolio holder at Bedford Borough Council.

“I would urge people to support their local shops and businesses and hope that Bedford’s Debenhams – post-Covid will be a store they intend to keep open or re-open.

“Either way we know high streets have to change and diversify and that is what our town centre plan sets out to support now and post-Covid.”


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