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Debenhams secures cash injection as it battles for survival

Image copyright Getty Images Debenhams is understood to have secured a cash injection of around £40m to buy it extra time as it battles to secure a longer term deal with lenders. The department store chain is expected to announce the fresh funds imminently. The struggling chain – which issued three profit warnings last year – is in talks with lenders and bondholders over renegotiating its debts. Debenhams is also trying to accelerate plans to close stores, and is expected to close around 20 stores this year. The extra money…

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Ashley votes to remove Debenhams bosses from board

Image caption Sergio Bucher joined Debenhams from Amazon The chief executive of Debenhams has been voted off the retailer’s board, but will remain in his role, the troubled retailer has said. Two major shareholders, Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, and Landmark Group, voted against Mr Bucher’s re-election. The board said it had “full confidence” in plans put in place by Mr Bucher and the management to reshape the business. Chairman Sir Ian Cheshire was also voted off the board and will step down. The vote, at the company’s annual general meeting,…

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Debenhams sales tumble over Christmas

Image copyright Getty Images Struggling department store chain Debenhams has reported a fall in sales during the crucial Christmas trading period. In a “volatile” environment with customers seeking discounts, Debenhams reported a 5.7% fall in like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to 5 January. The group, which is closing 50 stores, said it would not sell any businesses while it spoke to its lenders. Talks with lenders were “constructive”, Debenhams said. In the shorter trading period, the six weeks to 5 January, like-for-like sales – which strip out changes to…

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Mike Ashley: Debenhams snubbed my £40m lifeline

Image copyright PA Sports Direct’s owner Mike Ashley has written a bluntly worded letter to the boss of Debenhams discussing his offer of a £40m investment in the struggling department store chain. The letter, addressed to Sergio Bucher, suggests without the money the company “has zero chance of survival”. Mr Ashley writes he is frustrated Debenhams doesn’t want his “help”. In the letter, published by the Daily Telegraph, he adds he wasn’t surprised “by the predictable negative response”. Sports Direct already owns 30% of Debenhams, which is closing up to…

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Debenhams makes record annual loss and plans up to 50 store closures

Image copyright Reuters Debenhams has confirmed record annual losses and said it will close up to 50 under-performing stores. In the year to September it lost £491.5m, against profits of £59m the year before. The troubled department store chain, which has 166 branches, had previously said it planned to close 10 stores. Boss Sergio Bucher said the company was “taking tough decisions” on stores where financial performance was likely to deteriorate over time. Mr Bucher said the additional 40 stores earmarked for closure were “currently contributing positively” to the business,…

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Debenhams ‘seeks to close 50 stores’ in survival bid

Image copyright Reuters Debenhams is understood to be seeking to close 50 of its 166 stores in a radical overhaul as it prepares to reveal a record £500m loss. The struggling department store chain has previously said 10 stores were earmarked for closure over the next five years but has raised that target. The retailer’s survival plan, which was first reported by Sky News, will affect about 4,000 jobs. Debenhams, which declined to comment, reports annual results on Thursday. About 25 store leases are due to expire over the next…

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Sports Direct denies it wants Debenhams to fail

Image copyright PA Sports Direct has denied claims that it wants struggling retailer Debenhams to collapse so it can buy it cheaply. Reports had suggested Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley could block Debenhams attempt to raise cash by selling its department store chain Magasin du Nord. A spokesperson said the suggestion was “irresponsible and incorrect”. The sportswear giant recently bought House of Fraser and owns 29.7% of Debenhams, prompting speculation of a possible merger between the two chains. Sports Direct’s spokesperson said that Sports Direct had discussed “various opportunities for…

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Debenhams and House of Fraser merger mooted, director says

Image copyright Getty Images Merging House of Fraser and Debenhams has been discussed at board level, a director has revealed. Sports Direct bought House of Fraser last month and owns 29.7% of Debenhams. Sports Direct’s Simon Bentley, a non-executive director, said at its annual meeting that combining the two department stores had been discussed at board level. Sources close to Sports Direct could not immediately elaborate on the meaning of Mr Bentley’s remarks. His comments came shortly after the unexpected announcement at the meeting that Keith Hellawell was stepping down…

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Debenhams boss rails at ‘nosy neighbours’

Image copyright Getty Images Debenhams’ chairman has said the firm was forced to rush out an early trading statement on Monday to stop “nosy neighbours” gossiping about its future. Sir Ian Cheshire said speculation about the department store chain had become “a circus” and it wanted investors to know that trading had not collapsed. “We’re not insolvent,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. But he said the retailer was looking at “every option in the longer term” to turn around its performance. “The only analogy I can have to…

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Debenhams calls in KPMG to assess future options

Image copyright Getty Images Debenhams has brought in advisers from KPMG to assess a number of options to improve the fortunes of the department store chain. It is in the midst of a turnaround plan designed to cut costs and boost sales. Industry insiders say the firm and KPMG are looking at a number of potential options, including a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), but it is just one possible measure under consideration. Debenhams has acknowledged High Street market conditions are “challenging” . Scandinavian sale A CVA is a form of…

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