Belfast Telegraph

Store chain Debenhams hits hard times in the Republic

By John Mulligan

Debenhams is putting its Irish arm into examinership. The UK department store chain has 11 outlets in the Republic, all of which will remain open during the restructuring.

But the examinership does not affect the five stores in Northern Ireland, which are run as part of the main UK business.

The company said that its Irish unit has continued to rack up losses in recent years, compounded by high rents and other overheads. “The decision to seek examinership follows several years of losses at Debenhams Retail (Ireland) Ltd culminating in a financial loss of €6.7m (£5.27m) in the last financial year ended August, 29, 2015,” the company said.

“This reflects disproportionately high operating costs, such as above-market rents and other overheads.”

John Bebbington, a director of the business, said that the company will “work hard” to secure the long-term future of the business in the Republic.

“A key element of the examinership would be to protect as many jobs as possible,” he said.

“We believe this will be in the best long term interests of all our stakeholders. During the examinership process it will be business as usual for all of our stores and online trading.”

The business employs 1,415 staff across 11 store locations, including four in Dublin.

The latest set of accounts for the Irish arm show that turnover rose to €166.5m in the 12 months to the end of August 2015. That was up from €163.5m (£129m) a year earlier.

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