Debenhams in Bangor is ‘safe’ after an announcement today that 22 stores will close early next year, 1,200 jobs are likely to be affected.
The retail giant went into administration earlier this month having announced back in October that there could be up to 50 store closures over the next five years.
Once the 50 store closures are complete Debenhams will have around 116 stores in the UK. Debenhams also reported results for the 26 weeks to March. Sales at its UK stores fell 7.4%, which it blamed on fewer shoppers heading to the High Street.
The firm’s financial situation deteriorated and last month Debenhams agreed a deal with its lenders, who provided £200m of fresh funding. Those lenders then took control of Debenhams earlier this month by buying it out of administration.
That deal wiped out the investments of shareholders, including the stake of Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct. Mr Ashley had wanted to buy Debenhams and become chief executive, but his approaches were turned down.
The new owners have now announced their store closure programme under a process known as a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which also allows them to renegotiate rents at stores that remain open.
Terry Duddy, Debenhams executive chairman, said: “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.”
FULL LIST OF CLOSING STORES
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