Fashion retailer Boohoo has reportedly purchased the UK-based Debenhams brand and website for £55 million, but it will not take on any of the chain’s remaining 118 High Street stores or its workforce. The deal would result in loss of nearly 12,000 jobs at the department store chain, which is already in the process of closing down, after administrators failed to secure a rescue deal for the business.
FRP Advisory, administrators of Debenhams UK, said it had undertaken a ‘thorough and robust process’ to achieve ‘the best outcome for Debenhams’ stakeholders’. Boohoo said it was a ‘transformational deal’ and a ‘huge step’ and Debenhams is expected to relaunch on its web platform in early 2022.
In the meantime, Debenhams will continue to operate its website for an agreed period.
Boohoo has already bought a number of High Street brands, including Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen, out of administration, but not their associated stores.
“This transaction will allow a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge under strong new ownership, including an online operation and the opportunity to secure an international franchise network that will operate under licence using the Debenhams name,” FRP Advisory was quoted as saying by British media reports.
A closing-down sale at 124 Debenhams stores started in December, as the administrators continued to seek offers for all or parts of the business. The 242-year-old company announced recently that six shops would not reopen after lockdown, including its flagship department store on London’s Oxford Street.
Boohoo said its plans included “transforming Debenhams through the development of an exciting online marketplace, capitalising on the sector’s structural shift to online”. It wants to expand Debenhams’ product categories and its supplier partnerships. It was funding the deal from its existing cash reserves, it added.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)
Boohoo has reportedly purchased Debenhams brand and website for £55 million, but it will not take on any of the chain’s remaining 118 High Street stores or its workforce. The deal would lead to loss of 12,000 jobs at the department store chain, which is in the process of closing down, after administrators failed to secure a rescue deal for the business.