// Debenhams claimed £40.5m from the furlough scheme following administration
// The department store chain is now being liquidated after administrator FRP Advisory failed to find a buyer
// The company owes up to £229m to trade creditors
Debenhams has reportedly claimed £40.5 million from the furlough scheme after collapsing into administration.
The department store chain – which is now being liquidated after administrator FRP Advisory failed to find a buyer – legally claimed the sum from HMRC between April 9 and October 8, The Telegraph reported.
Debenhams said it used the money “in exactly the way the scheme was intended, which was to preserve jobs while stores were closed in line with government regulations”.
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Last month, it emerged that JD Sports was the frontrunner to take over Debenhams, but talks turned sour on Monday after Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group – Debenhams’ biggest concession holder – fell into administration.
Debenhams’ collapse has placed 12,000 jobs at risk, while Arcadia has put 13,000 jobs at risk.
The 242-year-old retailer fell into administration in April for the second time in 12 months as the Covid-19 pandemic forced the temporary closure of its 142 stores.
It has scrapped 6500 jobs since May.
On Wednesday, Debenhams’ website and stores received an overwhelming response as shoppers tried to take advantage of discounts of up to 70 per cent as it sells off remaining stock.
The company owes up to £229 million to trade creditors.
Shoppers reported being in virtual queues with as many as 900,000 users on Wednesday morning after Debenhams launched the fire sale.
By mid-morning, the website had crashed as it struggled to cope with demand.