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Principles stock sold to Debenhams

Debenhams has bought a significant proportion of the stock of Principles, which went into administration last week, and will continue to sell it temporarily in its stores.

The department store chain acquired most of the womenswear retailer’s stock, although the Principles brand name, along with its stores, was still up for grabs as Drapers went to press.

debenhams“>Debenhams will sell the stock via 121 Principles departments, which it will run under a temporary non-exclusive licence to use the brand name from administrator Deloitte. The departments will be staffed by Debenhams.

Principles is understood to generate about £60 million of sales at Debenhams.

Some reports had suggested that Debenhams was interested in taking on the whole business, but sources said it did not want to take on another chain, and that the business already had similar brands in its portfolio.

Deloitte said it had been unable to find a suitable buyer to take on Principles as a going concern. A potential rescue by Peter Davies, the former chief executive of Rubicon Retail, which used to own Principles, did not materialise after Davies failed to raise finance quickly enough to complete a deal.

One retailer said: “It’s a shame. There were bidders who were probably willing to take on the whole business, which would have saved a lot of jobs.”

It is understood that Deloitte could still seek a buyer for the Principles brand, and there has also reportedly been interest in some of its stores.

Administrators shut 66 Principles shops and 110 head office staff were made redundant last week. The remaining 19 stores and 172 non-Debenhams concessions were still trading as Drapers went to press.

Principles was part of Mosaic Fashions, which went into administration last week. It was not part of the rescue deal by new company Aurora Fashions, which bought Mosaic Fashion’s other womenswear businesses Karen Millen, Coast, Oasis, Warehouse and Anoushka G.

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