1. ITV Report

Stockton Debenhams to close

Debenhams is closing stores across the UK. Credit: PA Images

The Stockton branch of Debenhams is one of 22 the retailer is set to close across the country.

This branch, on High Street, has been earmarked for closure next year.

Across the UK more than 1,200 jobs are thought to be at risk.

Debenhams went into administration earlier this year.

In a statement to investors today, the company announced it was entering two Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA), a setup which allows troubled businesses to deal with their creditors.

Terry Duddy, Debenhams' executive chairman, said:

The issues facing the UK high street are very well known. Debenhams has a clear strategy and a bright future, but in order for the business to prosper, we need to restructure the group's store portfolio and its balance sheet, which are not appropriate for today's much changed retail environment. Our priority is to save as many stores and as many jobs as we can, while making the business fit for the future.

– Terry Duddy, Debenhams

The statement added that the CVA did not "seek to compromise claims of any creditors other than certain landlords, local authorities and inter-company liabilities" and said traders and employees would be paid.

The CVA is part of the Company's restructuring and turnaround plan. In conjunction with this, certain of the Group's financial creditors recently provided £200m of fresh liquidity and have committed to equitise £100m of debt. Value recovery for the shareholders of Debenhams plc is expected to be nil.

The CVA proposals provide a mechanism to restructure the store estate in line with the plan outlined by management in October 2018 to reduce the current 166 UK store portfolio by closing around 50 stores. The first stage of that programme proposes up to 22 store closures in 2020.