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Staff worried as Debenhams enters administration

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DEBENHAMS employees in Wales are fearing for their job security, after the department store chain announced a takeover by its lenders.
The lenders, Barclays, Bank of Ireland, and hedge funds Silver Point Capital and GoldenTree Asset Management, will now try to sell the business as soon as possible.

Whilst all stores are set to stay open for now, up to 50 branches have been earmarked for closure in the future.

A list of which shops may be shut has not been released, but it is expected that some closures will affect Wales.

Debenhams is the largest department store chain in the UK, with 166 stores and roughly 25,000 employees. In Wales, there are stores in Haverfordwest, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Swansea, Cardiff, Bangor, Wrexham, Newport, Merthyr and Llandudno.
The chain has passed through a pre-pack administration process, which allows a company sell itself or its assets, as a going concern, without affecting the operation of the business. Yet this will see shareholders lose their investments in the company.

Mike Ashley, founder and owner of Sports Direct, held a near-30% stake in the company, which had cost around £150m to build up, and on Monday (Apr 8), Debenhams rejected a £150m rescue offer from Sports Direct. Early on Tuesday a £200m offer was also rejected, as it would have seen Mr Ashley made Chief Executive and the lenders were suspicious of his intentions. Many thought that Ashley hoped to merge Debenhams and House of Fraser, which he acquired in 2018 after it entered administration.
Three years ago Debenhams was worth £900m, as of this week it is now worth £20m. Three profit warnings were issued last year, and 2018 also saw a record pre-tax loss of £491.5m. The chain also has a debt pile of £622m.

(Pictured The opening of Debenhams in Haverfordwest in 2013 – Herald archive)

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Pembrokeshire residents will not be able to vote for the Brexit Party at General Election

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THE BREXIT PARTY will not field any candidates in the two Pembrokeshire constituencies in December’s General Election it has just been confirmed, meaning locals will not be given an opportunity to vote for the party.

Nigel Farage said that he will not field candidates in any seats where conservatives won in the last general election, and instead the Brexit Party will field candidates against Labour held seats or other parties who are pro-Brexit.

He made the decision last night he said.

Speaking at a press conference flanked with supporters, Nigel Farage said: “We will expose labours betrayal. It is also fair to say that the London dominated labour party is now thousands of miles away from his traditional safe seats, some held since 1918. It’s now time for a seismic shift.

He added: “Trying to stop a second referendum is the single most important thing in our country.

He ended his speech today by saying: “In a sense we now have a leave alliance. We have done this unilaterally.

“We decided ourselves that we have to put country before party and take the fight to Labour.”

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Delays for Pembrokeshire rail users due to downed trees and shortage of drivers

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TRAINS in Pembrokeshire have been hit by a series of cancellations this morning.

The 09:09AM Milford Haven to Manchester Piccadilly service was started in Carmarthen due a shortage of drivers.

E J Evans Coaches were running a bus replacement service on behalf of Transport for Wales picking up passengers at all stations to Carmarthen.

There was also trouble today on the Fishguard Harbour Branch Line. Unsafe trees were spotted on the line after Clarbeston Road and the line is now closed until November 18.

This follows delays earlier this month and in October due to the same problem.

There are also more delays across the network in Wales.

South Wales Central AM, Andrew RT Davies, has blasted the network operator, after another day of chaos for commuters on the country’s rail network.

Services in South Wales and North Wales have been hit by a series of cancellations and passengers are complaining across several areas about a lack of coaches and trains not running on
time.

Commenting on the ongoing crisis, Andrew RT Davies said: “Sadly, it’s Groundhog Day on the Welsh rail network with commuters in my region on the receiving end of yet more unsatisfactory service from Transport for Wales.

“The rail crisis in Wales is creating chaos on a near daily basis and commuters deserve a much better service than they are currently receiving from TfW.

“Labour’s economy and transport minister promised there would be numerous ‘quick wins’ on the launch of the service but things have only got worse.
“We’re seeing an appalling level of customer service – a real crisis on the rail network – which is having a detrimental impact on the lives of hardworking people.
“Transport for Wales and the Welsh Labour Government have run out of excuses and desperately need to get a grip on the situation before people give up on public transport.”

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Haverfordwest: Car tyres slashed and windscreen smashed at Castle Lake

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POLICE in Haverfordwest are appealing for information about damage caused to a car at Castle Lake car park..

Four tyres were slashed and the windscreen was smashed on a silver Mazda MX-5 sometime between 6pm on Friday, November 8 and 11am on Saturday, November 9.

If anyone has information about the damage please contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

Police said: “Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DPP/0017/09/11/2019/01/C.”

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