Debenhams 'draws up liquidation plan' with 14,000 jobs under threat

Debenhams bosses have reportedly started drawing up plans for liquidation in a move that could threaten 14,000 jobs.

Owners have appointed Hilco Capital in case the 242-year-old department store is forced to go into liquidation, Sky News reports.

If followed through, it could trigger the biggest jobs cull of the coronavirus crisis so far.

Sources close to the company have described the decision as ‘contingency planning’ as the pandemic leaves a trail of devastation on the high street.

A spokesperson refused to comment on the involvement of Hilco this weekend, saying the store was currently ‘trading strongly’.

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It comes after owners confirmed they had axed 2,500 jobs to prevent the business from collapsing this week. This follows around 4,000 redundancies earlier in the year.

Debenhams formally entered administration in April for the second time in 12 months.

No new store closures are currently planned after 19 were shut in January this year, with 28 more set to follow.

A statement from Debenhams read: ‘Debenhams is trading strongly, with 124 stores reopened and a healthy cash position.

‘As a result, and as previously stated, the administrators of Debenhams Retail Ltd have initiated a process to assess ways for the business to exit its protective administration.

‘The administrators have appointed advisors to help them assess the full range of possible outcomes which include the current owners retaining the business, potential new joint venture arrangements (with existing and potential new investors) or a sale to a third party.’

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