British department store chain Debenhams will close all of its 124 stores as it enters liquidation, with 12,000 jobs at risk

  • British department store chain Debenhams will close its stores during a liquidation process that could risk 12,000 jobs, its administrators FRP Advisory said Tuesday.
  • In the short-term, Debenhams will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its stocks.
  • The news comes just a day after Topshop owner Arcadia Group entered administration.
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British department store chain Debenhams will start a liquidation process that will see its stores close and the potential loss of 12,000 jobs, dealing another hammer blow to the country's retail sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to wind-down Debenhams, which trades from 124 UK stores, followed its failure to find a buyer, its administrators FRP Advisory said Tuesday.

The last remaining bidder, JD Sports Fashion, confirmed on Tuesday it would not make an offer for the group.

The collapse of Debenhams comes a day after Philip Green's Arcadia fashion group, which owns brands including Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, entered administration.

Read more: Signet CEO Gina Drosos says the jewelry industry has been 'quite behind in developing e-commerce.' Here's how the owner of Zales and Jared has accelerated its move online during the pandemic.

"Given the current trading environment and the likely prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook for a restructured operation is highly uncertain," FRP said.

"The administrators have therefore regretfully concluded that they should commence a wind-down of Debenhams UK, whilst continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business."

Staff were told of the decision on Tuesday.

FRP said Debenhams will continue to trade through its UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks.

"On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close."

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