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Retail Update - July 2013


Posted At: 18 July 2013 11:15 AM
Related Categories: Administrations, Retail, Retailers, Store Closures


Research by Deloitte shows that the number of retail administrations fell by 30% in the first half of 2013, with a reported 87 collapses compared to 124 in the same period last year. Since our update last month, this list now includes:

  • Dwell appointed Duff & Phelps as administrators at the end of June, but was saved by its founder Aamir Ahmad who bought five stores and its online operations at the beginning of July
  • Miss Sixty and Energie stores in the UK are to close after liquidators were appointed to the UK business. The nine closures include Westfield Stratford, Bluewater Shopping Centre and on Covent Garden’s Neal Street
  • Ark fell into administration after June’s rent quarter day but was rescued by JD Sports almost immediately
  • Modelzone appointed Deloitte as administrators. Having received no offers for the business, store closures and further redundancies are being proposed
  • Nicole Farhi appointed Zolfo Cooper as administrators, who have received a large number of expressions of interest for the business
  • Internacionale underwent a pre-pack administration by its former management team and resulted in the immediate closure of 18 stores
  • Homebase has placed its Irish arm into examinership following poor trading in the country, and is proposing to close three of its 15 stores to put the business back on a sustainable footing. KPMG has been appointed as interim examiner which will provide protection for Homebase Ireland

In regeneration news, the third and last significant shopping centre and leisure development scheduled to open this year, has opened its doors. The 473,000sq ft New Square development in West Bromwich finally opened last weekend, after the opening was postponed from spring 2012 to July this year following delays in finalising third-party agreements with the adjacent Queen’s Square development. Primark and Tesco Extra anchor the scheme, other tenants include JD, Next, Arcadia and Bank. Figures show that nearly 100,000 shoppers flocked to the scheme during its first four days of opening.

In other news, the Commons Select Committee has announced that Mary Portas is to face questions by the Communities and Local Government Committee on her recent review into the future of high streets, Portas Pilots, Town Team Partners, and Bill Grimsey’s alternative review of high streets. The Committee also stated that the session with Portas “may inform a wider inquiry into the future of town centres later in the session”.

Following Portas’s review and the continuing demise of the UK’s high streets, alternative options for its future are being offered up. These include not only more engagement between LEPs and councils with their local retailers, but the revamping of historic buildings and more emphasis on the heritage of the local area are pointed out as key drivers of footfall and in attracting retailers. English Heritage points to Rotherham in Yorkshire which has seen a 6% increase in footfall since public funds were used to repair historic buildings. Some leading experts are calling for town centres to be shrunk, with the Government now proposing to turn retail units into housing as they intend to consult on the relaxation of planning regulations which would allow “communities to consolidate high streets”. With the ever increasing number of discount retailers and betting shops opening on our high streets, something – be it one of these proposals or a completely different idea - needs to be done to stop its demise.

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