Debenhams on ‘brink of collapse’ amid coronavirus crisis

Department store chain Debenhams is on the brink of collapse after bosses confirmed it has filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators, in a move set to affect around 22,000 workers.

With 142 stores closed and the majority of the 22,000 staff on furlough, the current owners want to push the business into administration then buy it back debt-free.

It is the second time in one year the store faces administration.

In a statement, Debenhams said: "Department store group Debenhams today has filed a Notice of Intent to appoint an administrator in the UK.

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"This move will protect Debenhams from the threat of legal action that could have the effect of pushing the business into liquidation while its 142 UK stores remain closed in line with the government's current advice regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The group is making preparations to resume trading its stores once government restrictions are lifted."

Debenhams said it has the support of its lenders to enter administration and is engaging with employees and suppliers over the move.

The majority of its employees in the UK are currently being paid under the Government's furlough scheme, after its stores closed following the shutdown of non-essential stores.

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It added that it continues to trade online across the UK, Ireland and Denmark and customer orders, gift cards and returns are being accepted and processed normally.

Debenhams said it has the support of its lenders to enter administration and is engaging with employees and suppliers over the move.

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