British department store giant Debenhams is facing administration for a second time in its recent history.
The high street retailer is set to appoint administrators as early as next week, in order to protect the company against claims from creditors.
Since the shutdown, the firm has temporarily closed its remaining 142 stores – after 22 of its retail outlets were permanently closed as part of a business restructuring plan. There was already set to be a further 28 closures over the next 18 months.
However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has ramped up pressure on the firm to bring in administrators again. They were previously called in in April 2019, following a failed coup by retail tycoon, Mike Ashley.
Although Debenhams is still currently trading online, it has millions of pounds of inventory on order from suppliers that it no longer requires due to the government-mandated order that all non-essential shops must be temporarily closed.
A Debenhams statement read: “Like all retailers, Debenhams is making contingency plans reflecting the extraordinary current circumstances.
“Our owners and lenders remain highly supportive and whatever actions we may take will be with a view to protecting the business during the current situation.
“While our stores remain closed in line with government guidance, and the majority of our store-facing colleagues have been furloughed, our website continues to trade and we are accepting customer orders, gift cards and returns.”