Debenhams and the Roche family dispute examinership terms

The UK firm bought Roches Stores ten years ago

Kieran Wallace of KPMG has been appointed by the High Court as interim examiner to Debenhams Ireland, following a row in court with Richard Roche of the Roche family that sold its trading business to Debenhams ten years ago.

The Roches retained the retail properties at the time but subsequently sold them, apart from the premises on Dublin’s Henry Street and Patrick Street in Cork.

Debenhams paid €29m for Roches Stores in 2006 and rebranded the business.

As part of the examinership process, Debenhams is seeking to cut staff costs and to renegotiate upward-only rents on its stores, thus involving the Roches.

Richard Roche accused Debenhams of filing a “tainted” examinership application based on an “incomplete and inaccurate” picture of its finances.

His principal contention was that the two properties still owned by the Roche family generate 40% of Debenhams’ Irish revenues and that Debenhams itself sublets space in Henry Street to the Spanish retailer Zara, for a high rent.