United Kingdom
Location of affected unit(s)
Retail Trade, Except Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles
Retail Sale In Non-Specialised Stores
47.1 - Retail sale in non-specialised stores

12,000 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
1 December 2020
Employment effect (start)
Foreseen end date


Debenhams, the British multinational department store chain, has announced that it is going to be wound down and that all its 124 stores across the UK will close down, putting 12,000 jobs at risk of redundancy. The company had been in administration since April 2020 and the announcement came after the last remaining bidder withdrew.

A statement by the company said it is ‘highly uncertain’ that the business as a whole could be sold, given the current economic situation and the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but parts of the business may be saved.

A representative of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) called on the government to provide support to businesses which were the worst affected by the pandemic.

Debenhams is one of the oldest department store chains in the UK, with a 250-year history. Over the past two years a large number of its stores closed, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs, however. The majority of losses has occurred since April 2020, when the company entered administration and made 7,800 jobs redundant across Ireland and the United Kingdom.



Eurofound (2020), Debenhams, Bankruptcy in United Kingdom, factsheet number 102720, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/102720.