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In May 2019, department store retailer, Debenhams, secured the approval of its creditors to enter a company voluntary arrangement. Under the restructuring plan, Debenhams would exit approximately 50 of its 166 UK stores over a three-to-five-year period, with the first group of stores closing in January 2020.

In October 2019, Debenhams appointed Hilco Capital to manage the first group of 21 store closures, comprising three tranches of stores over a three-month period. Ultimately, the additional pressures of the pandemic resulted in the closure of all remaining stores in December 2020.


Hilco Capital’s role

  • Managed all aspects of the store closure process
  • Deployed 30 retail field consultants at store level
  • Guaranteed the minimum recovery achieved by selling the inventory
  • Sourced and funded £20m of branded augment stock at no financial risk to Debenhams
  • Controlled varied discounting cadences across three tranches of stores
  • Provided bespoke point of sale package fitting Debenhams’ brand requirements
  • Implemented customer transfer programme
  • Controlled varied discounting cadences across three tranches of stores
  • Provided additional services to de-brand stores and remove equipment after closure


  • Minimum guarantee exceeded
  • Provision of augment stock enhanced recoveries and Hilco shared the gross margin with Debenhams/the administration estate
  • Sold unwanted store furniture, fixtures and equipment in situ through the closure events in the initial group of stores
  • Successfully navigated the unprecedented circumstances of 2020, including lockdowns and other restrictions
  • All stock sold through with £394m of sales achieved for the administration
  • All stores handed back to landlords on schedule, in ‘broom clean’ condition