UK retailer Debenhams goes into the red again

A Debenhams department store in Manchester, the UK. (AFP)
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Updated 10 April 2020

UK retailer Debenhams goes into the red again

  • Debenhams’ 142 UK stores are closed with Britain in coronavirus lockdown

LONDON: British department store group Debenhams went into administration for the second time in 12 months on Thursday, seeking to protect itself from legal action by creditors during the coronavirus crisis that could have pushed it into liquidation.

With Britain in lockdown during the pandemic, Debenhams’ 142 UK stores are closed, while the majority of its 22,000 workers are being paid under the government’s furlough scheme. It continues to trade online.

The retailer went into administration for a first time in April last year, wiping out equity investors including Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, and is now owned by a lenders consortium called Celine UK NewCo. 

Debenhams said administrators from FRP Advisory would work with the existing management team to get the UK business into a position to re-open and trade from as many stores as possible when restrictions are lifted by the government.

Chief Executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste said that he anticipated the firm’s owners and lenders would make additional funding available to fund the administration period.

However, the group’s business in Ireland looks doomed.

Debenhams said that it expected administrators to appoint a liquidator to the 11-store Irish operation, which employs 2,000.

The moves makes Debenhams the first major retail casualty of the health crisis in Ireland, where the government, as in the UK, has closed all non-essential shops.

Ireland on Monday reported a trebling of its unemployment rate to 16.5 percent with a further surge expected later in the month.

“We are desperately sorry not to be able to keep the Irish business operating but are faced with no alternative option in the current environment,” said Vansteenkiste. 


Turkish Airlines may delay delivery of Airbus, Boeing planes

Updated 27 May 2020

Turkish Airlines may delay delivery of Airbus, Boeing planes

  • The carrier plans to begin some domestic flights on June 4 and international on June 10
  • Airlines chairman said the impact of the coronavirus on market could last up to five years

ISTANBUL: Turkish Airlines, which halted nearly all of its passenger flights as a result of the coronavirus crisis, may delay the delivery of some Boeing and Airbus planes, its chairman was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
The carrier plans to begin some domestic flights on June 4 and some international flights on June 10 as airlines worldwide try to get planes flying again after a global travel slump.
But Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci said in an interview with Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper that the impact of the coronavirus could last up to five years and that it would take a while to reach 2019 load factor levels.
Turkish Airlines had received half of its order for 25 Boeing 787-9 planes, he said, adding that the delivery of the rest could be delayed.
The airline is in talks to take delivery of Airbus 350-900s that are ready from an order of 25, and that it was working to delay the delivery of the rest, he said.
“We are trying to lighten the serious loads that could arise. We are getting our narrow-body planes.”
Ayci said Turkish Airlines would no longer offer free in-flight food and drinks on domestic flights and other flights shorter than two hours.
He also repeated that the company would try to maintain employment, but that salaries would have to be adjusted, with the aim of supporting those paid the least.