Sep 4, 2020

Debenhams: No cliff edge for stores group, says boss

When Debenhams first collapsed in April 2019, its lenders - a group of banks and financial investors led by Silver Point Capital - seized control. Debenhams says stores outside of major city centres are trading far better as people shop local. "The city centre stores are really experiencing the most difficult conditions. There are less tourists around and less city workers, and that's all contributing - whether it's Oxford Street, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Leeds - to them trading less well than we would like." Debenhams currently has 124 shops, and once the government's business rates holiday is over from next April, it faces an annual rates bill of about £70m, a sum the company says is no longer sustainable. "It's not just a Debenhams issue, this is a retail issue across the country. It's really important because many of these stores are the heart and soul of our small communities. And we want to keep as many of them open. But I need the support from the government on business rates to help us reach a better outcome."

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