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Debenhams boss rubbishes insolvency rumours

Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire has said claims the retailer is heading for insolvency are “simply not true”, criticising intense speculation on the department store’s future.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he likened the intense scrutiny the business faces to having “nosy neighbours”.

On Monday, it was reported that Debenhams had called in KPMG to discuss future options for the business, with many onlookers anticipating a potential Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) deal as the struggling business looks to secure its stance on the high street.

Following the news, Debenhams issued a statement clarifying its financial position, and it expects to report pre-exceptional pre-tax profits of around £33m for its 2018 financial year, when it issues preliminary results on 25 October. The figure is within its current market range of £31m and £36.5m, it said.

EBITDA is expected to be around £157m

Speaking to Radio 4, Cheshire acknowledged that the company was working with KPMG, but denied that it was imminently considering following the likes of House of Fraser, Mothercare and New Look and filing for a CVA.

“We have always said we will look at every option in the long term, but the implication from the newspapers was that we are actively driving a CVA with KPMG and it is simply not true,” he said.

Drapers understands that other prospective options include renegotiating leases on the 25 stores up for renewal over the next five years and working with landlords to reduce the size of up to 30 shops.


Readers' comments (1)

  • HOF were denying they were in trouble too before things ultimately hit the fan. Although Debenhams aren't quite in the mire that HOF found themselves in, to discount - no pun intended - the CVA option is ridiculous.

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