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

Volatile Christmas trading leaves more of a mess at retailer M&S
UK stockmarkets

Volatile Christmas trading leaves more of a mess at retailer M&S

Last year was grim for retailers, while M&S, the clothing sector’s chronic underperformer, struggled at Christmas too. Matthew Partridge reports.
15 Jan 2021
Share tips of the week
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
15 Jan 2021
A simple way to profit from the next big trend change in the markets
Investment strategy

A simple way to profit from the next big trend change in the markets

Change is coming to the markets as the tech-stock bull market of the 2010s is replaced by a new cycle of rising commodity prices. John Stepek explains…
14 Jan 2021
How the UK press’s share tipsters fared in 2020, and what they’ve picked for 2021
Share tips

How the UK press’s share tipsters fared in 2020, and what they’ve picked for 2021

In a turbulent year for markets, the UK press’s share tipsters acquitted themselves well. Here's how they fared, and what they're tipping for 2021.
8 Jan 2021

Most Popular

Bitcoin: fool’s gold or the new gold?
Bitcoin

Bitcoin: fool’s gold or the new gold?

With bitcoin hitting new highs last week, and close to becoming a mainstream investment, is it really gold for the 21st century?
15 Jan 2021
The MoneyWeek Podcast: bitcoin special
Bitcoin

The MoneyWeek Podcast: bitcoin special

Merryn talks to bitcoin experts Dominic Frisby and Charlie Morris to get the lowdown on the cryptocurrency to find out why it's such a huge global phe…
15 Jan 2021
Leasehold reforms promise the end of a nightmare for many homeowners
Property

Leasehold reforms promise the end of a nightmare for many homeowners

Horror stories about unscrupulous landlords profiting from a legal relic of the feudal era are about to get a happy ending, says Simon Wilson.
16 Jan 2021