Boohoo buys Debenhams brand and website – but no rescue of high street stores or workforce

The online fashion giant, Boohoo has bought the Debenhams brand in a £55 million deal that will not include rescuing the retail chain’s physical stores or its workforce.

Instead, Boohoo plans to “rebuild and relaunch the Debenhams platform” as it continues in its ambitions to lead the fashion ecommerce market, while growing into new categories such as beauty, sport, and homeware.

The brand has even hinted at taking on the likes of Amazon in the ‘creation of the UK’s largest marketplace’ across the sectors, as it expands the range of products sold via Debenhams marketplace by maintaining current third party relationships and expanding further.

The deal does not include the rescue of Debenhams’ remaining stores, which, according to those close to the topic, are now likely to be broken up and sold to the likes of Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group.

The announcement brings an end to Debenhams’ high street brand, a position it has held since 1778.

Debenhams has around 300 million website visits a year, making it a top ten UK online retailer. It’s this strength that Boohoo will now build a relaunch from.

Boohoo chief executive, John Lyttle, said: “The acquisition of the Debenhams brand is an important development for the group, as we seek to capture incremental growth opportunities arising from the accelerating shift to online retail.”

Founder and executive chairman, Mahmud Kamani, added: Our acquisition of the Debenhams brand is strategically significant as it represents a huge step which accelerates our ambition to be a leader, not just in fashion eCommerce, but in new categories, including beauty, sport, and homeware.”

Debenhams had already announces significant job losses and the permanent close of six stores, including its flagship outlet on London’s Oxford Street.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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