The British department store chain Debenhams will begin a liquidation process that threatens to destroy 12,000 jobs, following the withdrawal announced by the sports group JD Sports as a possible buyer. The iconic chain of fashion and home products, which has been operating in this country for 242 years, confirmed today in a statement that its administrators have decided “unfortunately” to terminate their operations while continuing to seek offers for “all or some parts of the business.”
The collapse in the negotiations that the chain had with JD Sport to study a possible rescue agreement has been due, according to analysts in the British press, to the technical bankruptcy process of the Arcadia group – owner, among others, of Topshop-, whose Brands have great prominence in Debenhams establishments.
Debenhams noted that its 124 stores across the UK will continue to operate, as well as its online businesses to clear existing merchandise and backorders. “At the conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, operations in the UK will close,” the company said in the note.
Geoff Rowley, one of the process managers for Debenhams, said today that “all steps have been taken to complete a transaction that would secure the future of Debenhams.”
However, he explained that “the economic environment is extremely challenging and, along with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry, a viable agreement could not be reached. “
“The decision to go ahead with a closure program has been carefully evaluated and, although we remain hopeful to still receive alternative business proposals, we deeply regret that circumstances force us to begin this procedure,” he said.
The JD Sports group, the last group that had shown interest in rescuing the battered warehouses, badly affected by the pandemic, confirmed today in a brief note released on the London Stock Exchange that it was “ending” talks with Debenhams managers.
Arcadia had declared insolvent this Monday, endangering the jobs of its 12,000 workers and the operations of its 444 stores.