Business

Debenhams to liquidate its operation in the Republic

Debenhams's store at CastleCourt, Belfast. Picture Hugh Russell.
Ryan McAleer

DEBENHAMS’ retail operation in the north has formally entered administration, while its business across the border is set to be liquidated.

The department store chain appointed administrators from the FRP Advisory to its 142 UK stores on Thursday, including its five outlets in the north.

But the company confirmed yesterday that it intends to liquidate its operation in the Republic. The Debenhams Group confirmed that its 11 stores across the border will not reopen. The retailer employs around 1,400 people in the Republic.

All Debenhams’ UK and Irish stores have remained closed during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis in line with government guidance.

The department chain’s UK operation has now entered administration for the second time in the past 12 months. It employs around 22,000 people UK-wide, including several hundred in Northern Ireland. Most of those workers are set to be paid under the UK Government’s furlough scheme.

Stefaan Vansteenkiste, chief executive officer of Debenhams, said the administration process will protect the business and its employees, allowing it to resume trading when the government restrictions are lifted.

"We anticipate that our highly supportive owners and lenders will make additional funding available to fund the administration period,” he said.

"We are desperately sorry not to be able to keep the Irish business operating but are faced with no alternative option in the current environment.

"This decision has not been taken lightly and is no way a reflection on our Irish colleagues, whose professionalism and commitment to serving our customers has never been in question."

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