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Boohoo buys Debenhams brand for £55m, but Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich stores are to close for good




A buyer for Debenhams has stepped forward, however the retail chain's UK stores – including its Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich branches – will close for good once the deal is complete.

Boohoo Group has paid £55 million to acquire the collapsed brand out of liquidation, in a deal which allows the 242-year-old department store brand to survive but excludes its shops.

Administrators FRP Advisory said Debenhams' 118 shops would, once allowed under Covid-19 restrictions, re-open only for the purpose of clearing stock. A closing down sale continues online.

Debenhams The Apex Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley
Debenhams The Apex Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley

As a result of Debenhams stores closing permanently as part of the liquidation process, it is unlikely many of the remaining 12,000 jobs nationwide would to be saved.

Boohoo’s deal only includes Debenhams’ brand and business assets, including all the in-house brands and websites, and will see Boohoo take ownership of Debenhams’ ecommerce operations early next year.

Debenhams said 'a thorough and robust process' had been undertaken by the administrators to achieve the best outcome.

Debenhams, Westgate Street, Ipswich. Picture by Mark Westley
Debenhams, Westgate Street, Ipswich. Picture by Mark Westley

Geoff Rowley, joint administrator and partner of FRP Advisory, said: “We are pleased to have secured the future for this great brand and to have created the opportunity for a new Debenhams-branded business to emerge in a different shape beyond the pandemic.

“I expect the agreement with Boohoo may provide some job opportunities but we regret this outcome does not safeguard the jobs of Debenhams’ employees beyond the winding down period.

“We are very grateful that they have worked tirelessly through this very challenging period and will continue to support the closing down sale.”

Boohoo said the deal represented a 'fantastic opportunity'.

Debenhams’ fashion brands will also be absorbed into Boohoo’s portfolio and sold via the Debenhams website.

Boohoo has previously bought a number of high street brands, including Coast, Oasis, Warehouse and Karen Millen, out of administration and turned them into online-only operations.

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