Sky News has reported more than 10% of outlets will close immediately after the Christmas trading period.
As reported by Sky News, the closures will be among approximately 50 shops that will shut during a three-year period, leaving roughly 110 to continue trading under the Debenhams name. The retailer will also seek rent reductions across much of the rest of its estate as part of a long-awaited plan following its brief collapse into administration earlier this month.
Sources said on Tuesday that the launch of the CVA would pave the way for a creditor vote next month. They added that some of Debenhams’s landlords were likely to oppose the CVA, with 75% of creditors by value required to pass the vote. Well over 1,000 jobs are likely to be put at risk by the initial spate of store closures, according to analysts.
The launch of the next phase of the chain’s restructuring comes days after it announced that chief executive Sergio Bucher would step down. Debenhams’ new owners – a group of banks and hedge funds – have appointed Stefaan Vansteenkiste, a managing director at the professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal, as its chief restructuring officer. A financial restructuring that will convert around £100m of Debenhams’s debt to new equity is also part of the new owners’ plans.
Lazard, the investment bank which advised Debenhams’s board in the period before it called in administrators, is expected to advise on a sale process in the near term.
Debenhams and KPMG, which will oversee the CVA, declined to comment.