Debenhams loses front runner in race to buy out business

By Becky Bargh 13-Oct-2020

Reliance Retail pulled out of the buying process over the weekend, but many parties are still said to be interested

Debenhams has been dealt another blow after a front run buyer dropped out of the race to buy the business over the weekend.

Reliance Retail, owned by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is said to no longer be involved in the selling process, a source told The Sunday Times.

However, multiple parties are said to be still interested in the business.

Debenhams is currently at risk of liquidation if the retailer fails to secure a buyer at auction.

But the department store chain’s buyer may not inherit its Oxford Street store, as its owner, Swedish billionaire Stefan Persson, is said to be making plans to redevelop the site.

The ailing British department store chain fell into administration for the second time in a year in July this year, following the national shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an effort to stay afloat, Debenhams sold off a portion of its UK stores over the summer, which were snapped up by fashion retailer Next as it expands its ‘fast growing’ beauty offering.

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The retailer has since opened a host of dedicated beauty and home stores at former Debenhams sites.