(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 19, 2018 a Debenhams shop in Oxford Street, central London on June 19, 2018. - British department store chain Debenhams has entered administration and been taken over by its lenders, it said on April 9, 2019 amid tough times in the UK retail sector. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / various sources / AFP)TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

Debenhams has gone into administration, marking the end of UK department store’s third spell as a quoted company. Its lenders took control after rejecting financial backing from Sports Direct, its biggest shareholder.

Mike Ashley, Sports Direct’s billionaire founder, called the process a “national tragedy”.

Early days

Engraving of Wigmore Street, from OLD AND NEW LONDON: THE CITY ANCIENT AND MODERN (Vol. 3) by Walter Thornbury, 1897.  (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


Roots can be traced back London’s West End, when William Clark opened a retail store on Wigmore Street (pictured), selling expensive fabrics and gloves


William Debenham invests in the company, which then becomes Clark & Debenham


Debenhams is incorporated following a series of retail, wholesale and manufacturing acquisitions eventually becoming one of the largest retailers in the UK


The department store merges with rival Marshall & Snellgrove and one year later buys Knightsbridge retailer Harvey Nichols


Debenhams lists as a public company, marking its first foray on the UK stock market

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Changing hands

Shoppers running through the door of a Debenhams department store at the beginning of the sales season, UK, 10th July 1980. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Shoppers in 1980 run into the store during a sales event © Getty


Acquired by the Burton Group


Spun out of Burton, which went on to become Arcadia, with a value of £1.4bn


Acquired for £1.7bn by CVC, Merrill Lynch and TPG


Refloated by the private equity trio at about the same equity value but with 10 times the debt it had in 2003

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Final tussle

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07: Sports Direct International founder Mike Ashley leaves the Red Lion pub in Westminster to attend a Parliamentary select committee hearing at Portcullis house on June 7, 2016 in London, England. Mike Ashley is to face the Business, Innovations and Skills committee on working practices at his Sports Direct Shirebrook Warehouse in Derbyshire. In a letter to his staff he admitted that the centre needed 'improvements' after investigations found that staff had been paid less than the minimum wage and ambulances had been called to the complex 76 times in two years as staff were 'too scared' to call in sick. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
© Getty

Oct 2018

Massive full-year loss after heavy impairment charges; dividend scrapped

Dec 2018

Mike Ashley (pictured) reveals he offered to lend Debenhams £40m

Feb 2019

Agrees £40m additional credit line

Mar 13 2019

Mr Ashley’s Sports Direct offers Debenhams another loan of £150m

Mar 27 2019

Sports Direct said it was considering 5p-a-share bid for Debenhams

Mar 29 2019

Debenhams agrees £200m refinancing; challenges Sports Direct to respond by April 8

April 5 2019

Sports Direct offers to underwrite £150m rights issue

April 8 2019

Sports Direct makes improved offer to underwrite rights issue

April 9 2019

Control of Debenhams passes to lenders in “pre-pack” administration

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