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Debenhams Set to Shut Down, Threatening 12,000 Jobs

The closure of one of Britain’s oldest department stores is another severe blow for the high street following the collapse of Arcadia.
Debenhams store on Oxford Street in London | Source: Getty Images

Debenhams Plc said it’s preparing for close its doors for good after failing to find a buyer, in another severe blow for British retail just a day after Philip Green’s Arcadia Group began insolvency proceedings.

Debenhams, a 232-year-old UK department-store chain that employs 12,000 people, had been in talks to sell the business to JD Sports Fashion Plc, but the sportswear retailer said Tuesday that it was pulling out of negotiations. JD Sports’ decision came after Arcadia, the biggest concession partner of Debenhams, filed for administration Monday.

The news means that within 24 hours two of the biggest retailers in Britain, which collectively employ 25,000 people, have failed, adding to the heavy toll of job losses that have already taken place this year. Debenhams has 124 stores across the UK.

In a statement, Debenhams said that without a sale and in the current business environment and “the likely prolonged effects of Covid-19” it had no choice but to “commence a wind-down of Debenhams, whilst continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business.”

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