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Liquidation ‘contingency plans’ being considered for Debenhams

PUBLISHED: 06:54 16 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:26 16 August 2020

The Debenhams store in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Debenhams store in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Liquidation plans are being drawn up for Debenhams, which has a store in Norwich, in case other options for saving the department store chain fail, potentially threatening thousands of jobs.

It is understood restructuring firm Hilco Capital has been appointed to work on “contingency plans” with the retailer in the event that a sales process for the well-known British high street brand fails.

Debenhams, which has 124 stores and employs a reported 14,000 staff across the UK, collapsed into administration four months ago and announced plans to axe 2,500 jobs throughout its stores and warehouses earlier this week.

The department store previously shut down its stores in Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn, although its Norwich store in Orford Place remains open.

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A source close to the company said administrators were required to have liquidators on standby “in the unlikely event that all other options for the business do not materialise”.

A spokesman for the retailer said: “Debenhams is trading strongly, with 124 stores reopened and a healthy cash position.

“As a result, and as previously stated, the administrators of Debenhams Retail Ltd have initiated a process to assess ways for the business to exit its protective administration.

“The administrators have appointed advisers to help them assess the full range of possible outcomes which include the current owners retaining the business, potential new joint venture arrangements (with existing and potential new investors), or a sale to a third party.”

Hundreds of jobs have already been lost at the more than 200-year-old retailer since the start of lockdown after it permanently shut 18 stores.


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