Boohoo 'set to buy Debenhams brand and website'

SharenocloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingBoohoo is set to buy the Debenhams brand and website, the BBC understands.However, the fast fashion retailer will not be taking on any of the company’s remaining 118 High Street stores or its workforce. The announcement could come as early as Monday morning. The 242-year-old chain is already in the process of closing down, after administrators failed to secure a rescue deal for the business, with the likely loss of 12,000 jobs. A closing down sale at 124 Debenhams stores began in December, as administrators continued to seek offers for all, or parts of the business. In the last week or so, the company announced that six shops would not reopen after lockdown, including its flagship department store on London’s Oxford Street. Debenhams set to close putting 12,000 jobs at riskMike Ashley in talks to rescue DebenhamsWhat went wrong at Debenhams?Boohoo has already bought a number of High Street brands out of administration. It snapped up Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen, but not the associated stores. Debenhams and Boohoo declined to comment. Rescue deals fell throughDebenhams has struggled for years with falling profits and rising debts, as more shopping has moved online. It called in administrators twice in two years, most recently in April.image copyrightGetty ImagesHowever, its position has became untenable during the coronavirus pandemic as non-essential retailers were forced to close for prolonged periods.The firm had already trimmed its store portfolio and cut about 6,500 jobs since May, as it struggled to stay afloat.Businessman Mike Ashley, who founded Sports Direct and also owns House of Fraser, had already made an offer for Debenhams after it was initially put up for sale in April.But the takeover offer, thought to be in the region of £125m, was rejected as being too low, leaving JD Sports as the last remaining bidder.Mr Ashley had previously built up a 29% stake in the chain, but saw his £150m holding wiped out in 2019, when the company fell into administration and then ended up in the hands of its lenders – a consortium led by hedge fund Silverpoint.In early December, the Frasers Group confirmed that it was working on a possible last minute rescue of Debenhams.The announcement came five days after staff were informed and liquidators moved in to Debenhams’ stores to start clearing stock, after a potential rescue deal with JD Sports fell through.But Frasers said there was “no certainty” it could save the chain.One of the biggest issues, it said, was the collapse into administration last week of another High Street giant, Arcadia, which is the biggest concession holder in Debenhams department stores.

Japanese stocks set for muted open as investors watch virus situation

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to open little changed on Monday as investors continue to monitor the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Futures pointed to a muted open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 28,660 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 28,630. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 28,631.45.

Shares in Australia edged higher in morning trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.24%.
Amid the pandemic, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment, according to a report released Sunday from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
China brought in $163 billion in inflows last year, compared to $134 billion attracted by the U.S., according to the report.
Developments around Covid-19 are likely to be watched by investors, as the world races to adapt against the mutating coronavirus which has produced a number of potentially more infectious variants.
Globally, more than 99 million people have been infected by Covid-19 and at least 2,127,206 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 90.237 after seeing a recent decline from levels above 90.6.
The Japanese yen traded at 103.79 per dollar following levels below 103.5 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7719, off levels above $0.776 seen last week.