Debenhams set to permanently close all of its stores if buyer cannot be found

Approximately 12,000 jobs at Debenhams are at risk after reports surfaced that the famous department store chain is on the brink of liquidation.

The BBC has reported today that Debenhams is now about to go into liquidation if another buyer can’t be found. Former Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire told the BBC he felt “desperately sorry” for its employees.

He added that the department store chain had been “caught in a straitjacket” with too many High Street outlets on long leases. “You’ve got to be so much faster and so much more online”.

JD Sports announced on this morning (1 December) that they had now pulled out of rescue talks for Debenhams, putting 12,000 jobs at risk.

Debenhams has one major store in Harrow within the town centre. It will be extremely disappointing to many Harrow residents to hear of its potential closure after being part of the borough for so long.

JD Sports was the only remaining bidder for Debenhams, which has been in administration since April.

Geoff Rowley, partner with FRP Advisory and joint administrator to Debenhams, said: “All reasonable steps were taken to complete a transaction that would secure the future of Debenhams. However, the economic landscape is extremely challenging and, coupled with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry, a viable deal could not be reached.

“The decision to move forward with a closure programme has been carefully assessed and, while we remain hopeful that alternative proposals for the business may yet be received, we deeply regret that circumstances force us to commence this course of action.

“We are very grateful for the efforts of the management team and staff who have worked so hard throughout the most difficult of circumstances to keep the business trading. We would also like to thank the landlords, suppliers and partners who have continued to work with Debenhams through this turbulent period and can reassure them that all contractual obligations entered into in the administration period will be met in full.”

One Harrow resident said: “It is very sad news, I have been going to Debenhams since I was a small child and remember it very well growing up, it won’t be the same without it being there and I worry about what could possibly take its place. I did think this was going to happen sometime ago so I guess we are lucky to have it for as long as we have.”