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Debenhams announced that to close 22 stores early next year

Debenhams has announced that it will close 22 stores early next year, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

The retailer says the store closures will start next year.

1,200 staff will be affected by the first phase – including The Fort in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Debenhams, which employs 25,000 people, was taken over by its lenders a fortnight ago.

The company, which also has outlets in Bullring , Merry Hill in Dudley and Walsall,  has appointed FTI Consulting to carry out the process.

But the retailer insisted stores would continue to trade as normal.

Administrators have sold the group to a newly-incorporated company controlled by Debenhams’ lenders, including hedge funds thought to include Alcentra, Angelo Gordon and Silver Point Capital.

Under new ownership, Debenhams will have access to £200 million in emergency funding.

Sports Direct’s owner Mike Ashley had been trying to buy the company but had not managed to secure a deal and trading in Debenhams’ share was suspending on Tuesday morning, April 9.

The chain rejected a £150 million offer from Mr Ashley’s company because he wanted to become chief executive.

It would have seen Sports Direct underwrite the raising of £200million by issuing new shares, higher than its previous proposal.

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