Yorkshire and North East stores escape closure as Debenhams swings the insolvency axe

MOST Debenhams stores in Yorkshire and the North East have escaped closure as part of the struggling High Street giant’s battle with insolvency.

Only one store – in Stockton – was named on the hit list of 22 towns and cities that will see the famous retailer exit their High Street early next year.

All other Yorkshire and the North East store locations have escaped the swing of the insolvency axe – for now.

These include Leeds, Bradford, York, Sheffield, York, Wakefield, Scarborough, Doncaster, Beverley, Newcastle, Gateshead, South Shields, Sunderland, and Middlesbrough.

However, such is scale of the insolvency fight, Debenhams warned that a further 28 of its worst-performing stores were also in jeopardy.

The announcement of the second phase of closures is therefore waited with bated breath by shoppers and staff across Yorkshire and the North East.

Insolvency analysts predicted that the first-round closure of 22 stores nationwide would put 1,200 jobs at risk, as Debenhams was left with little option but to restructure in the face of growing insolvency fears.

Debenhams, which employs 25,000 people, was taken over by its lenders a fortnight ago in a pre-pack administration process.

Its new owners, who are a consortium of banks and hedge funds, are launching the major store-closure programme via an insolvency process known as a Company Voluntary Agreement  (CVA).

A growing number of High Street retailers, struggling in the insolvency zone as sales increasingly shift online, are using CVAs to scale back their presence and reduce rent bills to stave off insolvency.

Considered a last resort for ailing chains, the plan must be signed off by landlords and other creditors.

The full casualty list of Debenhams stores includes: Altrincham, Ashford, Birmingham Fort, Canterbury, Chatham, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Great Yarmouth, Guildford, Kirkcaldy, Orpington, Slough, Southport, Southsea, Staines, Stockton, Walton, Wandsworth, Welwyn Garden City, Wimbledon, Witney and Wolverhampton.

For more information about the work of our licensed insolvency practitioners and businesses recovery teams in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Darlington, please call us on 03300 244 660 or email confidential@walshtaylor.co.uk