Debenhams prepares to enter ‘light touch’ administration

The struggling department store chain hopes the move will protect it from legal action, that could push the firm into liquidation, while its stores are closed due to Covid-19

Department store chain Debenhams has announced today that it has filed for administration.

The move has been taken in an effort to protect the retailer from legal action, which could push it into liquidation while its 142 stores are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Debenhams, it is making preparations to resume trading once the UK government’s restrictions lift, and is continuing to trade online across the UK, Ireland and Denmark.

In a statement, Debenhams’ CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste said: “These are unprecedented circumstances and we have taken this step to protect our business, our employees and other important stakeholders, so that we are in a position to resume trading from our stores when government restrictions are lifted.”

The beauty, fashion and homeware retailer said the majority of its staff in the UK are currently being paid under the government’s furlough scheme, and that payments to suppliers would not be hindered by the ‘light touch’ administration.

“We are a working group of highly supportive owners and lenders, and anticipate that additional funding will be made available to bridge us through the current crisis period,” added Vansteenkiste.

“With their support and working with our key stakeholders, including landlords, pension trustees and business partners, we are striving to protect jobs and reopen as many Debenhams stores for trading as we can, as soon as this is possible.”

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