Questions have been raised over the future of Debenhams stores and thousands of staff after lenders took control of the company.
Around 50 stores have already been earmarked for closure, but the company did not disclose which stores and staff would be affected when approached by The Lincolnite.
All stores are expected to continuing to trade as normal today. Debenhams has two stores in Lincolnshire – Lincoln and Scunthorpe.
According to reports, all stores are expected to open through Christmas 2019, meaning jobs would not be immediately at risk.
We asked the people of Lincoln if they think there’s still a place for department stores like Debenhams on the High Street.
Christine Wells said: “I’m very surprised, I saw that there were worries but I didn’t think it would go into administration. I really hope the Lincoln store can stay open because I like to come here.”
Dave Kirkham said:
“I’m here today trying to spend my £80 in vouchers because I’m worried they will be worthless soon.
“There is still a place for department stores but the business rates and rents make it very difficult to compete with the online side.
“I still like to buy my clothes from a real store but I get most of my other stuff online.”
Debenhams plc appointed Chad Griffin, Simon Kirkhope and Andrew Johnson of FTI Consulting LLP as joint administrators on Tuesday, April 9.
Administrators immediately sold all of Debenhams plc’s ownership of the Group to a newly incorporated company. The company, named in reports as Celine UK Newco 1, are controlled by the Group’s secured lenders in a pre-packaged sale.
This happened after Debenhams rejected a £200 million refinancing offer from Sport Direct which would require Mike Ashley to be chief executive.
Debenhams’ Chairman Terry Duddy said: “It is disappointing to reach a conclusion that will result in no value for our equity holders. However, this Transaction will allow Debenhams to continue trading as normal; access the funding we need; and proceed with executing our turnaround plans, whilst deleveraging the Group’s balance sheet.
“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. I would like to thank them all for their recent and continuing support.”
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