Debenhams calls in the administrators after COVID-19 closes stores

Debenhams calls in the administrators after COVID-19 closes stores

THE WHAT? Debenhams has filed a Notice of Intent to appoint an administrator in the UK.

THE DETAILS The group has said that it is making preparations to resume trading its stores as soon as government restrictions are lifted and is preparing to enter a ‘light-touch’ administration that will see the existing management team remain in situ under the control and supervision of the administrators.

Debenhams continues to trade online and orders, gift cards and returns are being accepted and processed as normal it said. The department stores reassured shoppers via its Twitter account that it would ‘continue trading as normal’.

“These are unprecedented circumstances and we have taken this step to protect our business, our employees, and other important stakeholders, so that we are in a position to resume trading from our stores when Government restrictions are lifted,” said Stefaan Vansteenkiste, CEO of Debenhams. “We are working with a group of highly supportive owners and lenders and anticipate that additional funding will be made available to bridge us through the current crisis period. With their support and working with other key stakeholders, including landlords, pension trustees and business partners, we are striving to protect jobs and reopen as many Debenhams stores for trading as we can, as soon as this is possible.”

THE WHY? The move is designed to protect the department store from the threat of legal action, which could push the business into liquidation as its 142 stores remain shuttered due to COVID-19 restrictions.