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Debenhams to 'carefully consider' Ashley loan offer

Debenhams to 'carefully consider' Ashley loan offer

Business
By James Sillars, business reporter Debenhams says it will give "careful consideration" to Mike Ashley's offer of a £150m conditional loan under his attempted coup.The struggling department store chain, which is in advanced talks with its banks on a rival £150m refinancing, cautioned that any loan from the tycoon's Sports Direct empire would also require the agreement of its own lenders and bondholders. Mr Ashley, who is the largest shareholder in Debenhams, last week called an investor vote to remove most of the board and install himself as chief executive.He fired several further shots in his battle to take personal charge on Wednesday.One was the offer of a £150m loan - interest free - but only if Mr Ashley is handed the top job. ...
Debenhams slumps to £500m loss as stores face axe

Debenhams slumps to £500m loss as stores face axe

Business
Debenhams, Britain's biggest standalone department store chain, will announce the biggest loss in its 240-year history on Thursday as it sets out a plan to shrink its footprint in a radically shifting retail environment. Sky News can reveal that Debenhams will report a statutory annual loss of almost £500m for the year to 1 September.The mass of red ink on its accounts will arise from an overall charge of more than £500m - offsetting underlying profits of about £33m - relating to goodwill and impairments connected to store leases and IT systems.Alongside the full-year loss, Debenhams will confirm the closure of one-third of its 165 stores over the next five years, a stark upward revision from earlier guidance that around ten of its stores were facing the axe....
Debenhams shares plunge 17% as it calls in KPMG

Debenhams shares plunge 17% as it calls in KPMG

Business
Shares in Debenhams plunged 17% after the troubled retailer called in advisers as it considers plans that could lead to the closure of stores. Debenhams is considering a list of options that include a company voluntary agreement (CVA), a controversial way to reduce debts and close stores, Sky sources said.Other options the firm could be looking at include renegotiating leases on stores that are up for renewal, selling off its Danish arm Magasin du Nord and giving up space in some of its large stores.The company has brought in KPMG to help draw up the turnaround plans, according to The Sunday Telegraph.In a statement, Debenhams said: "Like all companies, Debenhams frequently works with different advisors on various projects in the normal course of business."CVAs have been us...
Debenhams shares hit by insurance fears

Debenhams shares hit by insurance fears

Business
Shares in Debenhams fell more than 5% before recovering following reports that some insurers have reduced cover for its suppliers.The Sunday Times said the retailer was facing "a cash crunch" because some credit insurers had tightened their terms for Debenhams suppliers.Suppliers use credit insurance to cover them from the risk of not being paid.However, Debenhams reiterated that its balance sheet and cash position were "healthy".The retailer, which is in the midst of a turnaround plan designed to cut costs and boost sales, said its relationship with credit insurers was "constructive" and all were continuing to provide cover to its suppliers.One major insurer, Euler Hermes, is understood to have reduced the amount of credit insurance it will provide.Meanw...
Debenhams half-year profits slump by 85%

Debenhams half-year profits slump by 85%

Business
Debenhams has reported an 85% slump in half-year profits after sales were battered by the Beast from the East and heavy restructuring costs also took their toll.The department store chain said almost 100 of its stores temporarily closed as a result of the extreme weather conditions earlier this year.Pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks to 3 March collapsed to £13.5m compared to £87.8m in the same period last year, with like-for-like sales down 2.2%.The group cut its interim dividend by half to 0.5p. Shares fell 10% in early trading.Debenhams said the weather impact alone was estimated to have accounted for a 1% fall in sales - with the freezing conditions coming at a time when the business was promoting its "new season spectacular".The profits slump was also partly due to one-off shake-up cost