Debenhams goes into administration but 'will trade as normal'

PUBLISHED: 12:24 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:30 09 April 2019

Debenhams Roaring Meg Christmas Windows.

Debenhams Roaring Meg Christmas Windows.

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Department store chain Debenhams, with major branches in Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City, has gone into administration.

The company has sold its entire ownership to its creditors, after rejecting a rescue offer from Sports Direct – which came with conditions that Debenhams bosses felt they would not be able to meet.

The company announced today that the group is unaffected, and that “all businesses are continuing to trade as normal”.

It clarified that staff, suppliers, pension holders and customers will not be adversely impacted by the administration.

The news follows reports of tumbling profits and a previously-announced plan to axe 50 of its 166 stores nationwide.

Debenhams in Welwyn Garden CityDebenhams in Welwyn Garden City

In April last year, the company announced an 84.6 per cent drop in its pre-tax profits, blaming the ‘Beast from the East’ for disturbing much of the footfall.

READ MORE: Debenhams’ profits tumble

By October last year, the company had earmarked 50 shops for closure, but said it would be “underperforming stores over three to five years old” that would be most likely to be axed.

READ MORE: Debenhams to close up to 50 stores

Stevenage’s branch at Roaring Meg Retail and Leisure Park was opened to great fanfare in 2017.

Debenhams in Welwyn Garden City.Debenhams in Welwyn Garden City.

Today, chairman Terry Durry called the situation “disappointing” but said: “We remain focused on protecting as many stores and jobs as possible, consistent with establishing a sustainable store portfolio in line with our previous guidance.

“In the meantime, our customers, colleagues, pension holders, suppliers and landlords can be reassured that Debenhams will now be able to move forward on a stable footing.”

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