Debenhams closes its doors

Debenhams is to close all of its 124 stores after JD Sports ended discussions over a rescue deal.

Debenhams is set to wind down the business and close all 124 stores after JD Sports ended discussions over a rescue deal, says Sarah Butler in The Guardian. While Debenhams’ administrators have been seeking a buyer since the summer, they now admit that the sale process has “not resulted in a deliverable proposal”, blaming the “extremely challenging” economic landscape and the pandemic-related “uncertainty” facing the UK retail industry.

No wonder JD Sports pulled out, says Jonathan Eley in the Financial Times. The market reacted “badly” to the news that the successful retailer was planning a bid for Debenhams, with the stock sliding by 10%. The collapse of Arcadia, a leading concession in Debenhams’ stores, is “unlikely to have helped sentiment”. JD’s departure means that Mike Ashley, the founder of JD’s rival Sports Direct, is expected to be a “prominent bidder” for any stores or parcels of stores that become available as part of the process. 

Ashley is positioning himself as the “only saviour of either Arcadia or Debenhams”, says Ben Marlow in The Daily Telegraph. But while his “long courtship” of Debenhams has already cost Sports Direct shareholders £150m thanks to a failed investment in the company, he is not assured of success. His “highly provocative offer” to bail Arcadia out with a £50m loan is likely to ensure that Arcadia chair Philip Green works hard to block him. Although Arcadia’s various brands are technically in the hands of administrators, UK retail is a “small world” and Green “still knows all the big-hitters”.

Recommended

When investors get over-excited, it’s time to worry – but we’re not there yet
Sponsored

When investors get over-excited, it’s time to worry – but we’re not there yet

When investors are pouring money into markets, it can be a warning sign of impending disaster, writes Max King. So how are fund flows looking right no…
26 Oct 2021
An investment trust that gives exposure to frontier markets
Investment trusts

An investment trust that gives exposure to frontier markets

An investment trust investing in small, illiquid emerging markets has disappointed, but deserves another chance, says Max King
26 Oct 2021
What does Rishi Sunak have in store for investors this Wednesday?
Budget

What does Rishi Sunak have in store for investors this Wednesday?

Rishi Sunak is unveiling his spending plans for the economy this week. John Stepek analyses areas which may be most hit by the budget.
25 Oct 2021
How rising interest rates could hurt big tech stocks
Tech stocks

How rising interest rates could hurt big tech stocks

Low interest rates have helped the biggest companies to entrench their positions. But what if rates rise?
25 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Properties for sale for around £1m
Houses for sale

Properties for sale for around £1m

From a stone-built farmhouse in the Snowdonia National Park, to a Victorian terraced house close to London’s Regent’s Canal, eight of the best propert…
15 Oct 2021
How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy
Energy

How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy

The government has started to roll out its plans for switching us over from fossil fuels to hydrogen and renewable energy. Should investors buy in? St…
8 Oct 2021
Emerging markets: the Brics never lived up to their promise – but is now the time to buy?
Emerging markets

Emerging markets: the Brics never lived up to their promise – but is now the time to buy?

Twenty years ago hopes were high for Brazil, Russia, India and China – the “Brics” emerging-market economies. But only China has beaten expectations. …
18 Oct 2021