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Debenhams store closures put 1,200 jobs at risk

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Debenhams has announced up to 22 stores are to close putting 1,200 at risk, the group announced a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) that will see affected stores trading until early next year.

There could still be further store closures as the company are in discussions with landlords, and rent reductions are being sought for other stores.

The retailer released their financial update in the 26 weeks to 2 March, sales had declined by 7.4% during the period, while underlying earnings fell 36.6% to £65.9m.

Terry Duddy, executive chairman of Debenhams, said: “The issues facing the UK high street are very well known.

“Debenhams has a clear strategy and a bright future, but in order for the business to prosper, we need to restructure the group’s store portfolio and its balance sheet, which are not appropriate for today’s much-changed retail environment.

“Our priority is to save as many stores and as many jobs as we can, while making the business fit for the future.”

Jim Tucker, a senior restructuring partner at KPMG said, “Today’s announcement marks the next phase of Debenhams’ financial and operational restructuring strategy, following the comprehensive funding package announced at the end of March.

“If approved, and with the support of lenders and landlords, the CVAs will allow the business the flexibility to implement its turnaround strategy with a store estate that reflects the current UK retail environment.”

The stores expected to close in 2020 are: Altrincham, Ashford, Birmingham Fort, Canterbury, Chatham, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Great Yarmouth, Guildford, Kirkcaldy, Orpington, Slough, Southport, Southsea, Staines, Stockton, Walton, Wandsworth, Welwyn Garden City, Wimbledon, Witney and Wolverhampton.




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