Jobs at risk as Debenhams is taken over by lenders

Debenhams has gone into administration.
Debenhams has gone into administration.

Debenhams – which has more than 15 stores in Scotland, including one at Glasgow’s Silverburn Shopping Centre – has been placed into administration and the retailer’s lenders have seized control of the company.

FTI Consulting has been appointed to carry out the process but the firm insisted that stores will continue to trade as normal.

Debenhams has more than 15 Scottish stores in towns and cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Dunfermline and East Kilbride.

Administrators have sold the group to a newly-incorporated company controlled by Debenhams’ lenders.

Under new ownership, Debenhams will have access to £200 million in emergency funding.

The move is expected to trigger store closures and job losses as part of a wider restructuring that will see around 50 outlets shut via a company voluntary arrangement.

The change of ownership means that shareholders such as Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, who holds a 30 per cent stake, will see their investments wiped out.

Debenhams had yesterday rejected a separate rescue bid tabled by the billionaire tycoon.

Terry Duddy, Debenhams chairman, said: “It is disappointing to reach a conclusion that will result in no value for our equity holders.

“However, this transaction will allow Debenhams to continue trading as normal, access the funding we need, and proceed with executing our turnaround plans whilst deleveraging the group’s balance sheet.

“We remain focused on protecting as many stores and jobs as possible.”

Shop workers’ union USDAW said the takeover had placed thousands of jobs at risk.

National Officer Dave Gill said: “This is more devastating news for staff who were already living under the uncertainty of possible store closures since last year.

“Once again, we urge the company to engage with USDAW the trade union for all Debenhams staff.

“It’s crucial that the staff and their voice should be heard. We will continue to provide our members with the support and advice they need at this very difficult time.”