Northampton's Debenhams store facing closure after takeover deal collapses

Retailer has been a feature of town centre shopping since 1950s

Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 10:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 10:42 am

Debenhams will begin winding down its Northampton store following the collapse of a deal to buy the 242-year-old retailer.

Administrators today confirmed they would continue to seek a buyer after JD Sports pulled out of a proposed takeover for 128 Debenhams UK stores — including one in the Drapery it has occupied since the 1950s.

But they added: "Debenhams will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks.

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"On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close."

JD Sports was understood to be in pole position in a sale process initiated by Debenhams’ administrators back in April.

But the sportswear retailer made a u-turn after Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group — which is Debenhams’ biggest supplier and concession partner — also went into administration on Monday.

Debenhams has been a presence in Northampton since 1952 when it bought the Adnitt Brothers store in the Drapery, rebranding it in 1973.

Debenhams confirmed it will start "winding down" it's Northampton store following the collapse of a rescue deal

The news will be another body blow to the town centre which has already lost major names BHS and Marks & Spencer in recent years.

Arcadia's collapse is likely to lead to the closure of TopShop in the Grosvenor Centre.

Edinburgh Woolen Mill became the latest casualty last month while supermarket giant Sainsbury's is set to quit it's Grosvenor Centre site in the New Year.

Stores will reopen tomorrow after the latest Covid-19 lockdown ends but a spokesman for the fashion and homeware chain said: “Given the current trading environment and the likely prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook for a restructured operation is highly uncertain.

Debenhams brought the Adnitt Brothers store in the Drapery in 1952

“The administrators have therefore regretfully concluded that they should commence a wind-down of Debenhams UK, whilst continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business.”

Joint administrator Geoff Rowley said. “All reasonable steps were taken to complete a transaction that would secure the future of Debenhams,”

“However, the economic landscape is extremely challenging and, coupled with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry, a viable deal could not be reached.

“The decision to move forward with a closure programme has been carefully assessed and, while we remain hopeful that alternative proposals for the business may yet be received, we deeply regret that circumstances force us to commence this course of action."