Published: Wed, April 10, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Uncertain future for Scarborough's Debenhams as retail giant goes into administration

Uncertain future for Scarborough's Debenhams as retail giant goes into administration

'Debenhams plc announces the appointment of Chad Griffin, Simon Kirkhope and Andrew Johnson of FTI Consulting LLP as joint administrators and the completion of the sale of the Group, other than plc, to a newly incorporated company, controlled by its secured lenders'.

Mike Ashley, founder and majority shareholder of sportswear retailer Sports Direct, leads journalists on a factory tour after the company's AGM, at the company's headquarters in Shirebrook, Britain, September 7, 2016.

Meanwhile, gift cards, outstanding orders and returns will still be honoured, but this is never guaranteed to last when a company enters administration.

Landlords are likely to willing to talk to the new owners about the cost of leases - few department stores are looking for new premises now and the cost of converting their buildings to new uses is very high.

The comments come after Ashley's last-minute £200m equity offering was rejected by Debenhams early this morning, as the high street chain moved into the hands of lenders.

Chairman Terry Duddy said it was "disappointing" that existing shareholders would be wiped out by the process.

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

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Preston Business Improvement District said past year that losing the "anchor store" in the Fishergate Centre would be a major blow.

Sports Direct's Mike Ashley has been keen to take over full ownership of the business.

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Khalaf said it had been downhill for the group since it floated on the stock market - for the third time - in 2006.

Seoparately Ashley's firm also chose to abandon a proposal to acquire Debenhams for 5p per share or £61m.

"The board confirms that it received a revised, highly-conditional, proposal from Sports Direct in the early hours of April 9, which indicated a willingness of Sports Direct to underwrite an equity issue of £200 million", Debenhams said in a statement.

With tensions increasing between the two sides, Ashley even demanded that Debenhams board members take lie detector tests.

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