British department store chain Debenhams has initiated insolvency proceedings. All Irish stores are already closing, CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste hopes that there is still something to save in the United Kingdom.
For the second time in a year, Debenhams goes bankrupt: the company is placed under guardianship, jeopardizing the future of the department store chain and 22,000 jobs. It is already over and over for the Irish business: the eleven department stores and 1,200 jobs in Ireland will be cut. Bankruptcy is pronounced on the department.
In this way, the Belgian CEO Vansteenkiste hopes to be able to keep the 42 store closings that he had already announced in January in the United Kingdom. From now on, however, it is also up to the appointed bankruptcy trustees of business consultancy FRP Advisory to supervise further developments.
Debenhams says to remain active online in the UK, Ireland and even Denmark. Gift vouchers and returns orders are also normally accepted. Currently, all physical stores are closed due to the coronavirus, but Vansteenkiste promises to “reopen as many stores as possible” as soon as it is allowed.
Long before the corona crisis, Debenhams struggled with the challenges in the retail market. In April 2019, the retailer came into the hands of a group of creditors: when twenty stores were closed permanently and rents in dozens of other branches were reduced. In January of this year, another nineteen stores closed.