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Debenhams Ireland exits examinership after three months

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez


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The Irish subsidiary of Debenham has left examinership – Irish take on administration – after falling under the court-issued protection back in May amid escalating losses reportedly due to high rents and staff costs for its predicament.

The examinership also exposed a fractious relationship between Debenhams and the Roche family, which is among the retailer's landlords here, controlling two of its prime premises in Dublin and Cork, reported the Irish ‘Independent’.

As a matter of fact, the Roche family sold their eponymous department store chain to Debenhams in 2006 for 29 million euros.

In this regard, Debenhams group treasurer Mike Hazell had told the High Court in an affidavit that the retailer's Irish unit has paid the 94 million euros on the two prime leases in Dublin and Cork to the Roche family since 2006, but also "substantial rent" on five other outlets that have now been sold by the Roches.

And while it had emerged during the examinership process that three outlets were at particular risk of being closed down, it's understood that Debenhams was prepared to pull down the shutters on as many as five stores unless it could secure the rent reductions it needed.

Debenhams currently operates four stores in Dublin, two in Cork, and is also present in Galway, Limerick, Newbridge, Tralee and Waterford. The company will now only seek 98 voluntary redundancies and no compulsory ones.

Kieran Wallace of KPMG was the examiner of the Irish arm of Debenhams, which will successfully exit the examinership process on Thursday.

Debenhams Retail (Ireland) reported sales of 166 million euros last year, having lost 22.6 million euros over the last three years. Its total annual rent roll is 25 million euros, while staff costs amount to 36.6 million euros a year, reports the ‘Irish Times’.

Image: Debenhams Web