Mar 16, 2020

Debenhams asks landlords for five-month rent holiday

Debenhams, the British department store group that went through two insolvency processes last year, has asked landlords for an immediate five-month rent holiday because of the likely impact of coronavirus on trading. Debenhams has suggested that "Significantly more" debt could be written off if landlords are prepared to lower rent bills, and that a restructured balance sheet would improve its chances of recovery. Debenhams' rent and rates bill is about £250m a year. Rent reductions were secured on many more, and the retailer intends to close another 28 department stores early next year, reducing its estate by about a third from its peak. At the start of March, John Lewis cut its staff bonus to the lowest level in more than 60 years and announced a strategic review that could lead to store closures and job cuts.

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