Debenhams to close all 124 shops after JD Sports pulls out of rescue talks

Debenhams has confirmed plans to start winding down its operations “while continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business” after rescue talks with JD Sports collapsed.

It means all 12,000 employees are likely to lose their jobs when the 242-year-old department store chain’s 124 shops cease trading.

It is understood staff were told on Tuesday morning.

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

JD Sports has pulled out of rescue talks for troubled department store chain Debenhams, putting 12,000 workers at risk.
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The news Debenhams is to start a liquidation process comes just hours after Topshop owner Arcadia fell into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

Debenhams said it will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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

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