COVID-19: Debenhams reveals six stores – including flagship Oxford Street branch – will not reopen after lockdown | Economic news

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Debenhams has revealed that six of its stores will not reopen, with 320 jobs to be allocated.

The department store chain said its director FRP Advisory was still in talks with “a number of third parties regarding the sale of all or part of the business.”

However, plans are moving forward for the liquidation announced last month.

Employees at stores in Portsmouth, Staines, Harrogate, Weymouth and Worcester have been told those stores will not reopen after coronavirus restrictions end.

Debenhams also said he had not been able to agree on a lease extension with the owner of his Oxford Street store in central London and therefore that store would also remain closed.

Geoff Rowley, co-director of Debenhams and partner of FRP Advisory, said: “We continue to engage with stakeholders on alternative proposals for the future of Debenhams, but inevitably the latest foreclosure has had an effect on our plans. gradual reduction in business.

“We regret the impact on colleagues affected by today’s announcement and would like to thank all of those who continue to maintain business activity under very difficult circumstances. ”

The insolvency firm said it still intends to reopen as many stores as possible to sell inventory, despite coronavirus restrictions that keep non-essential retailers closed.

The chain also continues to sell stocks online.

The 242-year-old department store began a liquidation process last month after failing to secure a last-minute bailout sale.

Debenhams has been in administration since April of last year, but its problems predate the coronavirus crisis that has hurt so many street retailers.

For much of its history, Debenhams has been very profitable and has been an established main tenant in many shopping streets and malls across the UK.

By the 1950s, Debenhams had 110 stores, making it the largest group of department stores in the country.

It was listed on the London Stock Exchange for the third time in 2006, following a period of private equity participation that proved lucrative for CVC Capital Partners and TPG but left its balance sheet struggling with what turned out to be unsustainable debts.

And as customers increasingly moved their shopping online, Debenhams was opening new stores as recently as 2017, and its strong physical presence came with high costs – increased rents, professional rates and upkeep.

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