UK Department Store Chain Debenhams Shutting Down

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2020-12-01 HKT 18:40

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  • News of Debenhams' demise came just hours after clothing retailer Arcadia fell into administration. File photo: Reuters

    News of Debenhams' demise came just hours after clothing retailer Arcadia fell into administration. File photo: Reuters

In another dark day for the British retailing industry, Debenhams said Tuesday it will start liquidating its business – which counts around 12,000 workers – after a potential buyer pulled out.

The 242-year-old department store chain said administrators had decided to start winding down operations while continuing to seek offers “for all or parts of the business”.

JD Sports had been mulling an offer for Debenhams, which like others in the UK retailing sector has seen business collapse this year during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, JD Sports is thought to have pulled out after Arcadia Group, the sprawling retail empire of billionaire Philip Green, went into a type of bankruptcy protection on Monday.

Arcadia, which owns well-known brands such as Burton and Topshop, is the biggest operator of concessions in Debenhams department stores.

Debenhams said it will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks.

“On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close,” the company said in statement. (AP)