Debenhams’ administrators eye potential sale

Debenhams has begun a process that could see the business changing hands after it fell into administration for a second time during the Coronavirus lockdown.

In a statement released after the Mail on Sunday reported on the plans this weekend, the department store confirmed that administrators had begun a process to consider ways for the business to come out of the protective administration it was placed in in May.

Investment bank Lazard has been appointed to oversee the process and any talks with possible buyers.

With restrictions lifting, 124 stores have now reopened, with the retailer reporting that it was “trading ahead of expectations”.

Possible outcomes include the current owners keeping hold of a business, possible joint venture arrangements, or sale to a third party.

In May, Debenhams appointed administrators in order to protect its UK business from the threat of legal action that could have pushed it into liquidation.

At the time, administrators said they would be adopting a “light touch” to help the business get to a position where it could re-open as many of its 142 stores as possible once the Coronavirus lockdown lifts.

Since then, 18 stores have closed down permanently, including five department stores which were badly hit by the collapse in sales during lockdown.

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