Debenhams set to close historic Sheffield shop after JD Sports rescue bid collapses

Jobs at Debenhams in Sheffield are once again at risk after the latest rescue talks for the beleaguered department store collapsed.

By Lloyd Bent
Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 10:27 am

JD Sports has pulled out of rescue talks for the chain, which has been in administration since April.

It was the last remaining bidder for Debenhams, which employs 12,000 and has stores on The Moor and in Meadowhall.

In a brief statement to the London Stock Exchange, the company said: “JD Sports Fashion, the leading retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands, confirms that discussions with the administrators of Debenhams regarding a potential acquisition of the UK business have now been terminated.”

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Debenhams on The Moor

Debenhams has already cut 6,500 jobs across its operation due to heavy cost-cutting after it entered administration for the second time in 12 months.

In June it closed all of its cafes, leaving staff unemployed and without furlough during the first lockdown.

The cafes reopened under a new concessionary ownership in August, but now face an uncertain future once again.

Debenhams, The Moor, 1960s

It is understood that the collapse of the deal is partly linked to the administration of Arcadia, which is the biggest operator of concessions in Debenhams stores.

Arcadia tumbled into insolvency on Monday evening, casting a shadow over its own 13,000 workers and 444 stores.

The 242-year-old department store chain said its administrators have “regretfully” decided to start its liquidation process, while continuing to seek offers.

Debenhams said it will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks.

“On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close,” the company said in statement.