Twenty-two Debenhams stores will be closed next year but Westwood Cross is, for now, safe.
A statement issued by the company today (April 26) has announced details of two proposed Company Voluntary Arrangements (the “CVA”): one relating to Debenhams Retail Limited, the main trading entity; and one relating to Debenhams Properties Limited.
It is expected that Jim Tucker and Ed Boyle from KPMG’s Restructuring practice will deal with the arrangements.
All Debenhams stores are proposed to remain open during 2019, including through Christmas peak
Trading but 22 stores are expected to close in 2020, including the branch at Canterbury.
Further store closures to be confirmed in due course, the final number will be dependent on future
trading performance; discussions with landlords regarding changes in lease terms and rental levels; and with local authorities regarding business rates.
Debenhams has already confirmed the closure of its Lodge Farm warehouse.
Some 1200 staff are affected by the closures. There will be efforts to deploy as many as possible.
A meeting on the resolutions to approve the CVA will be held on May 9.
Terry Duddy, Executive Chairman of Debenhams, said: “The issues facing the UK high street are very well known. Debenhams has a clear strategy and a bright future, but in order for the business to prosper, we need to restructure the group’s store portfolio and its balance sheet, which are not appropriate for today’s much changed retail environment.
“Our priority is to save as many stores and as many jobs as we can, while making the business fit for the future.”
All trade suppliers and the entitlements of employees will continue to be paid in full during the CVA process.
Stores expected to close in 2020
Altrincham, Ashford, Birmingham Fort, Canterbury, Chatham, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Great Yarmouth,
Guildford, Kirkcaldy, Orpington, Slough, Southport, Southsea, Staines, Stockton, Walton, Wandsworth,
Welwyn Garden City, Wimbledon, Witney, Wolverhampton.