Debenhams suitors ‘given 5pm deadline’ to register their bids

Houndshill Shopping Centre

Potential bidders for high street department store chain Debenhams have been asked to lodge their bids by 5pm today, September 1.

Sky News is reporting that advisers to the retailer put out the call in their bid to secure a future for the chain which entered a ‘light touch’ administration in April this year, following a previous administration process a year earlier.

Debenhams has already announced around 6,500 redundancies since the Government imposed lockdown measures in March when the pandemic started to take its toll.

It has closed 20 stores, although it said since reopening following an easing of social distancing measures by the Government, its remaining 124 stores were trading strongly.

Sources claim there is no need, so far, for the group to borrow any money for the foreseeable future.

However, it is understood that if no deal has been agreed to rescue the retailer by the end of this month, then liquidation will be the only option for administrator FRP Advisory, which would cost around 12,000 further jobs.

Hilco Capital, which has worked with the stores chain previously in closing down some of its sites, was recruited to oversee a liquidation process if no reasonable offers are submitted.

Sky News claims information circulated among potential buyers outlines an “illustrative scenario” where half of the chain’s UK estate would be liquidated, leaving it with 60 stores, with the business potentially recording profit of up to £90m in the year ending February 2022.

As well as its UK stores, Debenhams trades from 45 sites in 17 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia under various franchise agreements.

Debenhams has declined to comment on the 5pm deadline.