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Debenhams to appeal rates increase at Swansea store

By Huw Hughes

Aug. 25, 2020

Debenhams is reportedly looking to challenge a proposed 12 percent rates increase at its Swansea store.

The department store chain is appealing to a local tribunal against a 1.1 million pound increase in the rates bill for its store in the Welsh city, according to The Times. The retailer reportedly said the action would serve as a test case for its other stores across the UK.

In a statement seen by The Times the company said: “The Swansea hearing is a vital test case, with serious implications for jobs, both locally and across the UK. The outcome will go a long way to defining the future of every one of our stores.”

Debenhams has reportedly achieved rent cuts of up to 70 percent to date across its estate of 124 stores. However, it faces a 60 million pound rates bill after the current business rates holiday.

The date of the rates tribunal is expected to take place in October.

Debenhams fell into a ‘light touch’ administration in April after the Covid-19 took its toll on the company’s trading. It was the second time the retailer had fallen into administration in as many years.

Earlier this week, The Times reported that Celine Group Holdings, the holding company for Debenhams, called in advisers to prepare its own administration. The move would mean Celine wouldn’t have to pay overdue interest payments on 200 million pounds of bonds which were reportedly due on 15 July. The administration would reportedly not affect Debenhams’ sales, staff, customers or suppliers.

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