As the 206-year-old department store chain enters a pre-pack administration, we look back at its high and lows since it was last taken public in 2006.
Debenhams’ consortium of private equity owners, who took it private in 2003, refloat the business on the London Stock Exchange. Critics express scepticism about its growth prospects, given the amount of money taken out of the business while privately owned. The initial public offering values the company at £1.7bn, at the lowest end of predictions.
Debenhams issues its third profit warning in five months, blaming strong competition, a difficult trading environment and the poor performance of some of its clothing ranges.
The retailer renegotiates the terms of its £1bn debt with lenders to give itself longer to pay off the borrowings.
Debenhams halves its dividend and unveils plan to slash costs to reduce the £1bn debt.
With its debt now standing at £900m, Debenhams appoints financial adviser Lazard to review its capital structure, as it seeks to reassure the market that it will not breach its banking covenants. Those concerns weigh on Debenhams’ share price, despite a relatively positive trading performance.
Debenhams reveals plan to raise £323m through a share sale.
The department store completes the refinancing of the £650m senior credit facility it agreed in July 2010. The maturity date for the borrowing facility is extended to October 2015.
Michael Sharp takes over from Rob Templeman as CEO.
Debenhams outlines plans to expand aggressively in the UK and internationally after its pre-tax profit rises 4.2% to £158.3m in the year to 1 September 2012.
The Debenhams flagship on Oxford Street is given a £25m facelift.
Sports Direct acquires a 4.6% stake in Debenhams, and then quickly swaps it for a put option on 6.6%.
Sport direct increases its stake in Debenhams to 11.2%.
Debenhams continues with plans to expand internationally, and opens its first store in Abu Dhabi.
After a period of poor trading, a string of profit warnings and pressure from institutional investors, it is announced that Sharp will step down as CEO once a successor is appointed.
Sports Direct ups its stake in Debenhams to 21%.
Debenhams reveals that its pre-tax profit plummeted 44% to £59m in year to 2 September 2017.
The retailer asks for help from KPMG to explore restructuring options as its profits continue to fall.
Debenhams warns it will not meet its profit forecast for the full year, following increased financing costs and continuing “trade headwinds”. Later in the month it secures a £200m refinancing deal with its existing lenders. Sports Direct moots a £61m cash offer for the business.
8 April 2019
Sports Direct tables an offer of £150m, and then increases its bid to £200m. Its proposal is conditional on the appointment of Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley as CEO of Debenhams. The department store’s board rejects both offers.
9 April 2019
Debenhams enters a pre-pack administration, and its lenders take control.
Timeline: What went wrong at Debenhams?