Thursday 8 December 2016

Debenhams puts Irish arm into examinership, stores to remain open

Published 12/05/2016 | 14:32

A Debenhams worker adjusts sale signs on Henry Street, Dublin, as retailers open their doors early to a relatively slow start on Black Friday. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A Debenhams worker adjusts sale signs on Henry Street, Dublin, as retailers open their doors early to a relatively slow start on Black Friday. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Debenhams is putting its Irish arm into examinership.

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The UK department store chain has 11 outlets in Ireland, all of which will remain open during the restructuring process.

The company said that its Irish unit has continued to rack up losses in recent years, compounded by high rents and other overheads.

“The decision to seek examinership follows several years of losses at Debenhams Retail (Ireland) Ltd culminating in a financial loss of €6.7m in the last financial year ended 29 August, 2015,” the company said this afternoon. “This reflects disproportionately high operating costs, such as above-market rents and other overheads.”

John Bebbington, a director of the business, said that the company will “work hard” to secure the long-term future of the business in Ireland.

“A key element of the examinership would be to protect as many jobs as possible,” he said. “We believe this will be in the best long term interests of all our stakeholders. During the examinership process it will be business as usual for all of our stores and online trading.”

The business employs 1,415 employees across eleven store locations in Mahon Point (Cork), Patrick Street (Cork), Newbridge (Kildare), Henry Street (Dublin), Blackrock (Dublin), Tallaght (Dublin), Blanchardstown (Dublin), Limerick, Waterford, Galway and Tralee.

The latest set of accounts for the Irish arm show that its turnover rose to €166.5m in the 12 months to the end of August 2015, from €163.5m a year earlier. Its pre-tax loss narrowed to €6.7m from €8.5m.

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