Online fashion retailer Boohoo Group is set to acquire troubled department store chain Debenhams.
The cut-price deal for the brand name will result in the closure of Debenhams’ remaining stores, according to a report in the Financial Times which has been confirmed by Sky News.
The purchase price is expected to be about £50m, the newspaper said.
Both companies declined to comment.
It comes just days after Debenhams administrators FRP Advisory said they were still in talks with “a number of third parties regarding the sale of all or parts of the business”.
At the time, they announced that six stores would not reopen, including the flagship Oxford Street shop in central London.
The 242-year-old department store started a liquidation process last month after failing to secure a last-minute rescue sale.
Debenhams has been in administration since April last year but its problems pre-date the coronavirus crisis that has hurt so many high street retailers.
For much of its history, Debenhams was highly profitable and was an established anchor tenant on many UK high streets and shopping centres.
In the 1950s, Debenhams had 110 stores, making it the country’s largest department store group.
It listed on the London stock market for the third time in 2006, following a spell in private equity ownership that proved lucrative for CVC Capital Partners and TPG but which left its balance sheet saddled with what proved to be unsustainable debts.
And while customers increasingly moved their shopping online, Debenhams was opening new stores as recently as 2017 and its large physical presence came with high costs – rising rents, business rates and maintenance.