Thousands of jobs at risk at Debenhams

Debenhams on London’s Oxford Street
SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

Thousands of jobs could be lost at department store chain Debenhams, which has outlined plans to close 60 stores as part of a potential rescue deal.

JD Sports is reported to be looking to buy the chain in such a deal, with Debenhams’ pack for potential buyers suggesting 20 to 60 stores could close. Currently, it has 124 outlets and employs 12,000 people.

The company went into administration in April, the second time in 12 months. However, directors were still running the retailers rather than it being handed to administrators. Since March, Debenhams has already closed 20 stores and cut 6,500 jobs.

Reports suggest that JD Sports is primarily interested in taking over Debenhams’ website, and if the store chain fails to find a buyer, it could still fall into liquidation.

Other potential offers include Next and Marks & Spencer purchasing some sites but not the whole company, and The Hut Group is reported to be considering an offer for the website.

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley proposed an offer of £125 million for the company earlier this year, but this was rejected.

News of potential job cuts follows a report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation suggesting that an increasing number of employers are turning to temporary hiring due to a decline in business confidence.

More than half (53%) of employers in its JobsOutlook for the three months to October said they were using temporary workers to help them manage uncertainty. This was considerably higher than the same period in 2019, when it was 39%.

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