MP's sadness at demise of 'rudderless ship' Debenhams

Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick has said the demise of Debenhams is "another blow" to the high street.

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 3:46 pm
Debenhams

His comments came as the department store chain was wound up by a judge in a specialist court after online fashion chain Boohoo bought the brand and website.

The Debenhams stores in the Fishergate Centre, Preston, and Blackpool’s Houndshill shopping centre are among those set to close.

Sir Mark said: “This is another blow to the high street in Preston.

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“It follows on from the loses of Woolworths, British Home Stores, HMV and others to leave Fishergate.

"This was happening before the Covid pandemic, but the pandemic has accelerated what is an ongoing process of a major shift in retail business away from high street shopping.

“Preston like other towns and cities in the UK will have to work hard in the future to counter this trend."

Judge Daniel Schaffer made a winding-up order at an online hearing in the Insolvency and Companies Court on Monday.

He described the retailer as a “rudderless ship” drifting in an “ocean of insolvency” which needs to be brought into port.

He had been asked to consider Debenhams’ position by lawyers representing a shareholder and debtors.

Judge Schaffer made a winding-up order after news emerged that online fashion retailer Boohoo had bought the Debenhams brand and website for £55 million.

A spokesman for Debenhams stressed that the judge’s decision to wind up the company would not affect the Boohoo deal.

The order related to the “old plc”.