Debenhams rules out borrowing Mike Ashley cash

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Debenhams on Thursday said it did not want Mike Ashley’s help to bolster its coffers as it tries to revive its fortunes. 

The ailing department store chain is in talks with its lenders to refinance the business, but new finance chief Rachel Osborne made clear that the Sports Direct tycoon “is not a lender”. 

Ashley, who owns 29.7% of Debenhams, went to war in December with the retailer after it refused a £40 million loan from him. The billionaire emailed chief executive Sergio Bucher with dire warnings about the chain’s future and offering financial aid. Bucher said: “We did not ask for any help [from Ashley].” 

But he added: “We speak with all shareholders regularly and we keep the lines of dialogue open.”

Debenhams saw same-store UK sales fall 6.2% in the 18 weeks to January 5. Online sales grew 4.6%. Some analysts had expected a profit warning, but today the company said it planned to get £80 million from cost savings.

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January 11, 2019 |
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