Debenhams names 22 of 50 stores to close as part of plan to save chain

DEBENHAMS has named 22 out of the 50 stores that it plans to close as part of a plan to save the chain from collapse.

The department store will start to shutdown branches next year in a move that will affect 1,200 members of staff.

 Debenhams plans to start closing the 22 stores at the start of 2020

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Debenhams plans to start closing the 22 stores at the start of 2020

Stores in Canterbury, Chatham and Orpington are among the stores that are due to be closed.

Lenders took control of the struggling retailer earlier this month which wiped out the investments of shareholders, including Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley.

Debenhams executive chairman Terry Duddy said: “Debenhams has a clear strategy and a bright future, but in order for the business to prosper, we need to restructure the group’s store portfolio and its balance sheet, which are not appropriate for today’s much changed retail environment.

“Our priority is to save as many stores and as many jobs as we can, while making the business fit for the future.”

Which Debenhams stores are expected to close next year?

DEBENHAMS has announced 22 out of the 50 stores that it plans to close:

  • Altrincham
  • Ashford
  • Birmingham Fort
  • Canterbury
  • Chatham
  • Eastbourne
  • Folkestone
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Guildford
  • Kirkcaldy
  • Orpington
  • Slough
  • Southport
  • Southsea
  • Staines
  • Stockton
  • Walton
  • Wandsworth
  • Welwyn Garden City
  • Wimbledon
  • Witney
  • Wolverhampton

Earlier this month, the chain fell into administration after rejecting a £200million rescue plan from the Sports Direct tycoon.

It would have seen Debenham’s lenders agree to write off £82million of its £720million debts, which the retailer said was “not sufficient”.

Administrators have previously promised that all 166 Debenhams will continue to trade as normal for now and that customers can continue to spend their gift cards.

READ  Debenhams shoppers urged to spend gift cards as administration puts 4,000 jobs at risk

Creditors are hoping that closing the stores will free up £25million which will then be used to try and save the rest of the business.

Debenhams falls into administration with 50 stores to close as part of deal to save the chain

All 22 of the named stores are expected to remain open throughout Christmas 2019, and it hopes to save some jobs by finding workers positions at stores that remain open.

The retailer is still yet to specify the remaining 28 branches out of the 50 earmarked for closure.

Debenhams already announced plans to close its Lodge Farm warehouse in Northampton but will continue to run three other distribution centres.

Jim Tucker, a restructuring partner at financial firm KPMG said that the store closures is a positive step towards turning around the business by having a “store estate that reflects the current UK retail environment.”

Chain store closures in the past two years have stripped UK high streets of more than 1,000 shops, as bosses struggle under pressure from rising business rates and wages.

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Last year, House of Fraser was saved from the brink of collapse after Mr Ashley ploughed £90million into the failing chain.

Toys R Us the UK’s largest toy and children’s supplier went into administration in February 2018, resulting in an estimated 2,000 redundancies.

While Poundworld announced it was going into administration four months later, with the closure of 355 stores and loss of 5,100 jobs.

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