UK retailer Debenhams to face liquidation amid COVID-19 crisis

LONDON, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Britain's multinational retailer Debenhams confirmed Tuesday that the 242-year-old company is set to shut down all British shops amid the coronavirus pandemic hit, putting 12,000 jobs at risk.

The Debenhams' administrators, FRP Advisory, have "concluded the initial sale process that was part of their assessment of options for the UK business in administration," said the retailer in a statement.

"The sale process has not resulted in a deliverable proposal," the statement said, adding that "the outlook for a restructured operation is highly uncertain," given the current trading environment and pandemic impact.

Meanwhile, the Debenhams will continue to trade via its 124 British stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks.

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

"The economic landscape is extremely challenging and, coupled with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry, a viable deal could not be reached," said Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory, joint administrator to the Debenhams and Partner at FRP.

"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," Rowley added.

Under the headwinds of the pandemic, the retailer had cut about 6,500 jobs since May. To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.

Founded in 1778, the retailer operates through 200 department stores and online in Britain and more than 90 other countries.

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