ANY hopes of saving Hampshire’s remaining Debenhams stores have been dashed by the decision to sell the famous name to online rival Boohoo.

Debenhams was wound up yesterday by a judge who described it as a “rudderless ship”, hours after the sale of the brand was announced.

Boohoo bought the Debenhams brand name and website from administrators but said the 118 remaining stores would all close – spelling the end for most of their 12,000 jobs.

The deal marks the end of Debenhams’ Hampshire stores in Winchester and Fareham, as well as the Portsmouth branch whose closure had already been announced.

Its Southampton branch was axed during the first lockdown of 2020.

Cllr Paula Ferguson, Winchester City Council’s cabinet member for the economy, said: "'Obviously, we're really disappointed to see the Winchester Debenhams close, particularly as this means over 100 people will lose their jobs.

“But as this has been on the cards for some time, we're already in contact with the landlords to understand their plans for the future.”

Boohoo will sell Debenhams products from early next year – allowing the stores a winding-down period after the current lockdown ends.

Judge Daniel Schaffer made a winding-up order at an online hearing in the Insolvency and Companies Court yesterday.

The judge said the Official Receiver now should assess the position.

He had been asked to consider Debenhams’ position by lawyers representing a shareholder and debtors.

The judge said he was making a winding-up order of his own motion.

“The company is a rudderless ship drifting in an ocean of insolvency, unable to be rescued,” he said.

“It is time for the court to bring this ship into port, so the harbour master, here the Official Receiver, can assess the position.”

Debenhams had already announced significant job losses and the permanent closure of six stores, including its Portsmouth shop and its flagship outlet on London’s Oxford Street.

Boohoo said its buyout represented a “fantastic opportunity” to target new customers and launch into the beauty, sports and homewares market for the first time.

Debenhams went into administration in April 2020.