Former Superdry boss Euan Sutherland has emerged as a leading candidate to take the reins at Debenhams, Retail Week has learned.

Sutherland, who quit Superdry in April following the dramatic return of its founder Julian Dunkerton, is among a number of names being considered by the department store chain to become its new chief executive.

Former Co-op and B&Q supremo Sutherland spent four years in charge at Superdry before Dunkerton and new chairman Peter Williams were voted onto the board by shareholders at an EGM.

Sutherland was among a raft of executives to resign following the coup, but he could now be in line for a swift return to retail.

Debenhams has been without a permanent boss since April, when Sergio Bucher stood down. His exit came just days after the embattled business fell into the hands of its lenders.

Debenhams chair Terry Duddy has assumed an executive role since Bucher’s departure, while the new owners search for a permanent replacement.

That process is ongoing, and the identities of other candidates in the running for the role are unclear at present.

Retail Week understands it could be a number of weeks before Debenhams makes an appointment, and sources cautioned that a final decision is yet to be made. 

Debenhams declined to comment.

The beleaguered department store business is battling to revive its fortunes after collapsing into administration earlier this year.

Debenhams was delisted from the Stock Exchange in April when lenders took control, wiping out the stakes of major shareholders including Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct.

Prior to that its share price had slumped to just 5p after suffering a prolonged period of falling sales.

In the six months to March 2, like-for-likes tumbled 5.2%. Same-store sales in its UK estate crashed 7.4% during the same period.

Debenhams launched a CVA in May, paving the way for it to shutter 22 stores in 2020 year and a further 30 in the coming years.