Shares in Debenhams dive as woes show no sign of abating

Sebastian McCarthy
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Like many high street retailers, Debenhams has been hit by rising costs and online competition (Source: Getty)

The falling share price of embattled department store chain Debenhams showed no sign of a let up this afternoon as its stock value plunged a further 12 per cent.

The retailer’s share price plummeted amid reports that as many as 90 of its high street stores could be up for closure, putting 10,000 jobs at risk.

Read more: Debenhams may shut 90 stores and slash 10,000 jobs in rescue plan

Shares dived 12 per cent to 3.37p in afternoon trading. This time last year shares were trading at 31p.

Last week Debenhams’ attempts to avoid collapse suffered one its most damaging blows yet, as Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, who controls a 30 per cent stake in the business, ousted chairman Ian Chesire and pushed chief executive Sergio Bucher off the board.

In October the chain reported losses of £491.5m, the largest in its history, as well as 50 possible store closures.

But according to a report by The Daily Telegraph the company's board has now added another 30 to 40 stores to the list of closures, as long leases, rising labour costs and pressure from online retailers continue to dent the company's balance sheet.

Yesterday City A.M. revealed Debenhams is one of 50 high street retailers involved in a huge lobbying effort to secure business rates relief from the government.

Read more: Fears over business rates mount as Britain's major retailers prepare to form action group

The campaign, which is set to go public in the coming months, is focused on an upcoming rise in business rates for larger companies due to come into effect on 1 April.