BREAKING: Debenhams to start 'wind-down' process of closing stores across UK

Pending Debenhams closure to become second major store closure in Banbury town centre this year.

BREAKING: The BBC and other national news outlets have reported Debenhams stores are set to close across the UK.
BREAKING: The BBC and other national news outlets have reported Debenhams stores are set to close across the UK.

The pending closure of the Debenhams in the town centre of Banbury would become the second major department store to close this year in the popular Castle Quay Shopping Centre.

The Marks and Spencer branch in Banbury's Castle Quay permanently closed in August.

The M&S store was the first major store to come to the Castle Shopping Centre, which was later extended to become Castle Quay, when Debenhams arrived in town.

Debenhams issued a statement this morning, Tuesday December 1, which said administrators have concluded Debenhams should start a 'wind-down' of Debenhams UK, whilst continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business.

Given the current trading environment and the likely prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook for a restructured operation is highly uncertain.

Debenhams will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current stocks. On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close.

Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory, joint administrator to Debenhams and Partner at FRP, 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.”

Debenhams' news comes just hours after Topshop owner Arcadia collapsed into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

Tough trading during the coronavirus pandemic proved to be the final blow for both firms, which employ more than 25,000 people between them.