INTERNATIONAL - Debenhams plans to close 22 stores next year, putting about 1,200 jobs at risk, under a scheme designed to put the ailing British retailer on a stable financial footing.
Debenhams’ lenders took control of the retailer earlier this month in an effort to keep stores open, a deal which wiped out the company’s shareholders, including Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, who had tried to take control of the business.
The retailer on Friday gave details of two proposed company voluntary arrangements which would keep all stores open during 2019, but with 22 closures planned for next year.
Once the country’s biggest department store chain, Debenhams has been hit by a sharp slowdown in sales, high rents and ballooning debt, plus a power struggle with billionaire shareholder Ashley’s Sports Direct.
Administrators were appointed after Ashley’s last-ditch bid to rescue the company failed. They sold the group to its creditors including British banks and U.S. hedge funds.