Coronavirus: Debenhams negotiates reopening deal but hundreds of jobs will go | Business News

Debenhams says it has negotiated a deal with landlords allowing it to reopen most stores in June but admits some jobs will be lost as it grapples with administration.

The department store’s 142 UK sites are currently closed and it has been only trading online during the coronavirus lockdown.

But a spokesperson for the business told Sky News that the “vast majority” of these stores will reopen on 15 June, as government restrictions are eased.

They said: “Debenhams’ preparations to reopen the vast majority of its stores from 15 June are well under way following the successful conclusion of lease negotiations on 120 stores.

“In the context of a retail industry undergoing profound change, the management team is working on the future shape of the group, with a view to seeking an exit from administration as a going concern.

“With a leaner and more flexible operating model, Debenhams will have the ability to adapt to what are likely to be fundamental shifts in the future trading environment.”

Debenhams stores in England are expected to open first, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following soon afterwards.

It is understood that hundreds of jobs will be lost from its head office, which employed around 3,000 people before the closures.

Reuters, which first reported the job losses on Thursday, said all staff made redundant are currently furloughed under the government’s jobs retention scheme.

Some jobs based in store could also be axed, as the shops will initially open for shorter hours and with fewer services.

Last month Debenhams, which employs around 20,000 people, formally entered into administration for the second time in a year and announced that its Irish business, with 11 stores, would permanently cease trading.

The latest administration was designed to protect the business from creditors at a time when stores were shuttered because of the coronavirus crisis.

Chief executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste said at the time that it aimed to be “in a position to resume trading from our stores when government restrictions are lifted”.

Sky News

Leave a Reply

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By :