Hundreds lose jobs as Debenhams to close and Topshop collapses

Posted On 01 Dec 2020 at 12:58 pm

Hundreds of jobs are to go with the collapse of Debenhams and news that the company that owns Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge could follow.

Debenhams occupies the anchor store in Churchill Square shopping centre, in Brighton, where it occupies three floors.

The company was in talks with JD Sports but the rescue failed and JD issued a brief statement to the London Stock Exchange at 9am today (Tuesday 1 December).

It said: “JD Sports Fashion PLC, the leading retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands, confirms that discussions with the administrators of Debenhams regarding a potential acquisition of the UK business have now been terminated.”

Debenhams was placed in administration in April – not for the first time – to protect the business from its creditors while it tried to arrange a rescue deal.

But the department store chain, which traces its roots to 1778, is now likely to go into liquidation.

This means that 12,000 staff are likely to lose their jobs as more than 120 stores close and the retailer is broken up with stock and other assets sold.

The outlook for Debenhams – and the rescue talks – worsened yesterday as Arcadia, the company that owns Topshop, went into administration.

Arcadia operates a number of concessions in Debenhams stores in Brighton and elsewhere and has more than 400 branches with 13,000 staff.

The company, chaired by Philip Green, owns a number of chains, including Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop and Wallis.

Philip Green is the controversial former owner of BHS (British Home Stores), which also had a branch in Churchill Square.

He has been criticised for taking money out of the business before it collapsed, also costing thousands of jobs and leaving many people with reduced pensions.

Another controversial business boss, Mike Ashley, submitted a £125 million bid for Debenhams through department store operator House of Fraser which he owns. The bid was rejected.

Mr Ashley started Sports Direct – the main rival to JD Sports – and also tried to buy Debenhams last year, having built up a 29 per cent stake in the business at one point.

Retail analysts expect Mr Ashley to be among those bidding for Debenhams stores or parcels of stores that are sold during the liquidation.

Accountancy firm Deloitte is handling the administration of Arcadia and said: “We will be rapidly seeking expressions of interest and expect to identify one or more buyers to ensure the future success of the businesses.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    One cannot lament Philip Green’s collapse.

    Meanwhile, could we see Churchill Square return to housing? That would be fitting – an array of terraced houses was demolished to make way for the hideous building.

    Piquant that it was named after Churchill, who said, “we create out buildings and then they create us.”

  2. Hove Guy Reply

    This is very sad news for all those friendly and helpful staff members. I hope they will not have difficulty in finding employment after the closure of Debenhams. However, thie store itself has become less and less interesting or inviting in recent years, and at times it has looked as if there are more staff than customers. Of course, this has not been helped by the destructive attitude towards shopping in the city centre by B&H Council, with its very exorbitant parking charges, or the high cost of public transport. And who, in their right mind, would pay to shop among ever increasing graffiti, vandalism, beggars and drunks, when they can do their shopping safely and more pleasantly out of town, where it costs them very little? So much for the City of Sanctuary. It should be renamed City of Disaster.

  3. Penelope b Reply

    God I hope space nk, whistles and Mac are going to survive. Shame about Debenhams. Good cheap clothes and makeup. Maybe their e-commerce wasn’t strong enough. Shows how retailers without a strong enough omnichannel offering have suffered during Covid.

  4. Sophie Reply

    Does anyone know when the closing down sale is?
    Great for stocking fillers and secret Santa gifts
    Clothes very cheap and not on trend. So not surprised. Hope staff get good payout

  5. Bradly Reply

    Who owns Debenhams? And why is Philip Green being blamed? Arcadia is not Debenhams

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      Arcadia took space in Debenhams.

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