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Local & National News for Wales

Disaster for Debenhams staff as rescue efforts fail

THE retailer Debenhams, which has outlets across Wales including Llanelli, Carmarthen, Swansea and Cardiff has suffered a fatal blow following the failure of the latest rescue effort.

JD Sports was thought to have been interested in acquiring all of Debenhams’ business, which would include 12,000 staff and 124 shops.

With the failure to secure a takeover Debenhams will begin to wind down its UK properties, a move that will place 12,000 jobs at risk.

Sir Phillip Green’s Arcadia group, which has concessions at Debenhams stores went into administration putting 13,000 jobs at risk. It is understood that this also led to the the collapse of rescue talks.

Debenhams has been around for 242 years and has been a familiar sight at shopping centres throughout the UK.

Administrators have now decided to start winding down operations while continuing to seek offers “for all or parts of the business”.

Debenhams has already axed 6500 jobs across its operation due to heavy cost-cutting after it entered administration for the second time in 12 months.

Helen Mary Jones MS, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy and Tackling Poverty said:

“The announcement of job losses at Arcadia Group stores and Debenhams will be devastating news for those working in their shops and there will be disappointment amongst their loyal customers. I know Debenhams is seen as an anchor shop for many communities in Wales so the impact will be felt on our high streets across the country. The failure of the owners of the businesses in the Arcadia Group to properly understand retail business and the long term failure to invest has played as much of a part in this crisis as the very difficult trading circumstances.

“As the Welsh Governance Centre has identified non-food retail has been one of the sectors of the economy hardest hit, and often it is women who work in this sector.

Sectors whose activities involve social contact – such as non-critical retail, hospitality, and restaurants – have been completely shut down, and temporary or permanent job losses here have been concentrated among low-paid service workers.

“Welsh Government must provide what support they can for attempts to save some of these businesses and some of these jobs, and ensure that comprehensive re-training and job search support is available for all those effected in Wales whose jobs cannot be saved.

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