Debenhams set to close all stores

Last-ditch efforts to save Debenhams have failed.

The department store chain said on Tuesday that it was starting the liquidation process after the last remaining bidder, JD Sports, withdrew from talks.

The 242-year-old retailer had been in administration since April and had already cut about 6,500 jobs due to cost-cutting measures. It currently employs 12,000 people across 124 stores.

If the administrators are unable to reach a final deal for all or parts of the business over the coming months, all jobs at Debenhams will be lost.

Debenhams will continue to trade while the liquidation process is ongoing. Restructuring firm Hilco will start going into stores on Wednesday to begin clearing stock, BBC News reported.

Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory, joint administrator to Debenhams, said the company was unable to reach a viable rescue deal due to the “extremely challenging” economic landscape, coupled with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry.

The news came just hours after Arcadia Group, owner of Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton, fell into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

Arcadia operates 444 stores in the UK and 22 overseas.