Debenhams 70% off 'fire sale' as it tries to shift stock before closing down stores

Debenhams 70% off 'fire sale' as it tries to shift stock before closing down stores

December 1, 2020

DEBENHAMS has reduced clothing to 70% off online as it prepares to launch a 'fire sale' in store when it reopens tomorrow before closing shops next year. 

The 242-year-old retailer is to be liquidated following failed rescue talks to save the chain’s 124 shops, putting 12,000 jobs at risk. 

All of Debenhams shops are set to reopen tomorrow following a relaxation of regulations for non-essential retail and it continues to trade online and accept gift and store cards.

It comes as shops brace for a "Wild Wednesday" spending spree, with many offering big price cuts as lockdown ends.

Retailers have been given the go-ahead to extending trading hours, with Primark planning to open 11 flagship branches for 24 hours from December 2.

Administrators will continue to try and sell off parts of the Debenhams business but it's likely that stores will close early next year, once it has sold its remaining stock.

The troubled retailer, which is known for its Blue Cross Sales, currently has 70% off on womenswear and accessories and up to half price off gifts, kidswear and homeware. 

Hilco, the restructuring firm which specialises in winding up retailers, will start going into stores on Wednesday to begin clearing stock.


Debenhams is set to be liquidated after JDSports pulled out of bids to save the troubled department store chain.

It has already cut 6,500 jobs since May.

The collapse comes after Debenhams' sales in the six months to October plunged to £323million versus billions in its heyday.

Debenhams told The Sun it'll continue to process returns and accept gift cards for now.

However, it's worth spending the cash sooner rather than later as all stores are set to permanently close in future.

Debenhams traces its roots back to 1778 when William Clark established a drapers store in the West End of London, selling fabrics and gloves.

Its current name stems from 1813 when William Debenham invested in the business, which became Clark & Debenham.

It's understood the collapse of rescue talks is partly linked to the administration of Arcadia, which is the biggest operator of concessions in Debenhams stores.

Sir Philip Green’s retail empire includes brands such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Topshop. 

The collapse of Arcadia puts 13,000 jobs at risk.

Arcadia, which runs 444 stores in the UK and 22 overseas, said 9,294 employees are currently on furlough.


Coronavirus restrictions and the closure of non-essential shops have put immense pressure on retailers and the high street this year. 

Peacocks and Jaeger, which are owned by Edinburgh Woolen Mill Group, fell into administration last month, putting 21,000 jobs at risk. 

Laura Ashley went bust in March, just before the lockdown was brought in, putting 2,700 jobs at risk.

It had been doing well before the pandemic struck, during the seven weeks to March 13, with trading up 24% on the same period a year earlier.

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Aldo shoe shop went into administration in May resulting in five UK store closures and it's searching for a buyer for the remaining business, though franchised stores are not part of the process and concessions remain trading.

Arcadia, the owner of Topshop and other top high street fashion brands, filed for administration on Monday, the biggest British corporate insolvency so far of the coronavirus pandemic.

Benson Beds fell into administration in June with Harveys Furniture and was quickly bought back by its owners in a prearranged deal.

Brighthouse fell into administration at the end of March.

Cath Kidston went into administration in April and its online, franchise and wholesale arms were bought back by its owners resulting in the closure of 60 stores and 908 redundancies.

Harveys Furniture, the UK's second largest furniture retailer, fell into administration in June and continues to trade and honour existing orders while it plans to close 20 stores and make 240 staff redundant.

Laura Ashley said in March it would permanently shut 70 stores and cut hundreds of jobs after appointing administrators.

LK Bennet brought in administrators earlier this year and is proposing to close stores and reduce rents to save the business.

Oasis and Warehouse The British fashion brands fell into administration in mid-April after failing to find buyers, and online fashion group Boohoo said in June it was buying the brands but closing all stores.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks and Jaeger owners fell into administration in November, putting 4,716 jobs at risk.

Monsoon Accessorize went into administration in June and were then bought out of administration by their founder with plans to close 35 stores, make 545 staff redundant and seek rent cuts for remaining shops to try and stay afloat.

Fashion giants Oasis and Warehouse went bust on April 15 leading to 1,800 staff being placed on furlough, and 202 being made redundant.

Vintage fashion brand, Cath Kidston, closed all 60 of its UK stores in April with the loss of 908 out of 940 jobs.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst of Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The retail house of cards on the high street is in danger of collapse with both Debenhams and Arcadia group now looking increasingly likely to face liquidation.

“A nightmare before Christmas is unfolding for 25,000 employees who will lose their jobs if buyers are not found for parts of both businesses."

While Paddy Lillis, general secretary of trade union Usdaw, added: “It is devastating news for our high streets that Debenhams’ administrators have announced a closure programme.

"We urge the administrators to engage with Usdaw, the trade union for Debenhams staff.

"It is crucial that their voice is heard and they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."

Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory, joint administrator to Debenhams, 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.

"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.

"On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close."

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