Debenhams stores set to close after rescue deal collapses

A rescue deal for department store chain Debenhams has collapsed after Arcadia went into administration last night – meaning two prominent Suffolk stores will likely close.

JD Sports withdrew its bid for the department store chain which has been in administration since April.

Administrators for the 242-year-old chain have now “regretfully” decided to start winding down operations while continuing to seek offers “for all or parts of the business”.

Debenhams said it will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online 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 said in statement.

MORE: Suffolk Arcadia stores won’t close immediately, town leader believes

Geoff Rowley, of FRP Advisory, joint administrator to Debenhams, said: “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.

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“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.

“We are very grateful for the efforts of the management team and staff who have worked so hard throughout the most difficult of circumstances to keep the business trading.”

JD Sports was the last remaining bidder for Debenhams, which has been in administration since April.

In a brief statement to the London Stock Exchange, the company said: “JD Sports Fashion, the leading retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands, confirms that discussions with the administrators of Debenhams regarding a potential acquisition of the UK business have now been terminated.”

MORE: Claims of more job losses at Debenhams stores in Ipswich and Colchester

Debenhams has already axed 6,500 jobs across its operation due to heavy cost-cutting after it entered administration for the second time in 12 months. Among them were around 70 roles in East Anglia. Staff were allegedly made redundant while muted on a conference call.

Arcadia tumbled into insolvency on Monday evening, casting a shadow over its own 13,000 workers and 444 stores.

Commenting on Arcadia’s collapse, Ian Grabiner, the firm’s chief executive, said: “This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders.

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the forced closure of our stores for prolonged periods, has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands.

“Throughout this immensely challenging time our priority has been to protect jobs and preserve the financial stability of the group in the hope that we could ride out the pandemic and come out fighting on the other side.

“Ultimately, however, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe.”

What outlets does Arcadia have in the region?

Burton

• Haverhill

• Felixstowe

Dorothy Perkins

• Felixstowe

• Bury St Edmunds (Debenhams)

• Ipswich (Debenhams)

• Haverhill

• Beccles (Beales)

Miss Selfridge

• Ipswich (Debenhams)

• Bury St Edmunds (Debenhams)

• Colchester (Debenhams)

Topman & Topshop

• Ipswich

• Bury St Edmunds

• Colchester

Wallis

• Ipswich (Debenhams)

• Bury St Edmunds (Debenhams)

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