Jul 4, 2021

Mark Gifford: ‘I knew it was never going to be an easy situation’

"I knew it was never going to be an easy situation to turn the business around," he says. "The message to the landlords was: we genuinely believe with your help, we can exit the business from administration and we have the management team retained in the business to trade the business out of administration." "We were saying, if you can help us on business rates there's a real business case for the Treasury" because Debenhams would have continued paying payroll taxes and there would have been fewer calls on the National Insurance Fund for redundancy pay. "We closed down an FX contract and made a £13m one-off gain, we got court settlement costs, we unblocked cash. We had over £50m of one-time benefit that you could never put in a business case". "If doesn't get signed you have to say we're going to give you a deadline, otherwise we will sell to another party that will not involve the continuation of the full business," Gifford said of the protracted talks with Mike Ashley, founder of Sports Direct, which later changed its name to Frasers.

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