Debenhams, which employs about 22,000 people, could signal a plan to appoint administrators as early as next week, according to Sky News. KPMG, the accountancy firm, is understood to be among those on standby to handle the process, reports say.
- Debenhams store closures: 19 stores closing this month – full list
The prospective appointment would be designed to shield the company from legal claims from creditors during the coronavirus outbreak, Sky News reports.
However, it’s understood a firm decision to appoint administrators has not been taken, and it remains possible than an alternative outcome could emerge.
During the coronavirus crisis, the retailer has put the vast majority of its workforce of “furlough”, following the closure of its 142 UK stores.
80 percent of these employees’ wages – up to £2,500 per month – will now be covered for three months under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Despite closing its stores in line with government guidance, the retailer’s website remains open.
In a statement on Friday, a Debenhams spokesman said: “Like all retailers, Debenhams is making contingency plans reflecting the extraordinary current circumstances.
“Our owners and lenders remain highly supportive and whatever actions we may take will be with a view to protecting the business during the current situation.
“While our stores remain closed in line with government guidance, and the majority of our store-facing colleagues have been furloughed, our website continues to trade and we are accepting customer orders, gift cards and returns.”
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