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AFP
December 2, 2020

Collapse of UK retailers puts 25,000 jobs at risk

World

AFP
December 2, 2020

LONDON: Debenhams and Topshop-owner Arcadia, two of Britain’s biggest clothing retailers, stood on the brink of collapse Tuesday following coronavirus fallout and fierce online competition, risking the loss of 25,000 jobs.

British department store chain Debenhams said it was set to close for business save for an unlikely rescue, meaning around 12,000 jobs were set to go.

The business, which had been struggling long before the pandemic, made its announcement after British clothing retailer Arcadia fell into administration late on Monday, putting at risk a further 13,000 roles.

The news comes on the eve of England exiting a second lockdown which has battered in particular the nation’s retail and hospitality sectors.

Debenhams, whose history dates back to the late eighteenth century, said in a statement that it would continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear stock after retailer JD Sports pulled out of rescue talks.

Debenhams, which has already been shedding thousands of jobs ahead of and during the pandemic, currently employs around 12,000 staff -- mostly being paid by the government under its Covid furlough scheme.