A week on the high street

20th January

January 20, 2021

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Arcadia will close 31 stores, namely its Outfit fascia as it considers the bids that have come in to buy its brands out of administration. It is reported that there are seven bids for the brands including Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Evans with Next the favourite to secure the Topshop brand.

 

Debenhams has announced that it will close its flagship store on Oxford Street alongside 5 other stores across the country, which will result in a loss of over 300 jobs. The retailer, which is currently winding down, has said that it aims to reopen as many stores as possible to aid the liquidation process. However, lease negotiations were impacted by Debenham’s inability to trade due to the current lockdown which has resulted in the closued annoucned.

 

White Stuff has launched a review of its property estate following a transformation programme last year which saw 400 jobs lost from the business. It is reported that a CVA could be on the table to help the fashion retailer close reduce costs across its 115-strong property portfolio.

 

Despite an estimated £1bn loss due to COVID-19 store closures, Primark says it will not trade online due to the cost of implementing an online sales channel. Many customers have said they would welcome an online shop however the value fashion retailer has claimed that it would no longer be able to offer its low prices if it introduced a means to sell online.

 

Leisure

 

Trade body UKHospitality has called for a package of support to be offered to leisure businesses to aid the recovery of the sector in 2021. The proposed measures includes extensions to both the VAT cut and the business rates holiday in order to give the surviving leisure businesses a fighting chance. Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said in a statement: "The Budget provides the Government with a fantastic opportunity to deliver a bold package of support to tee hospitality businesses up for a year of rebuilding…Some businesses have inevitably and sadly gone to the wall, and we have lost around 650,000 jobs. Thankfully, many more businesses have managed to adapt and are still managing to cling on, keeping jobs safe and giving their staff, customers and communities hope that they will be able to reopen once the vaccine roll-out makes it safe to do so."

 

Property

LandSec has agreed 26 deals with 21 retailers in the past 10 months across its outlet mall portfolio, it announced in a recent press release. The agreements have been made for space across Gunwharf Quays, Braintree Village, Clarks Village and Junction 32 totalling over 48,000 sq ft. Brands to take space include premium retailers such as Penhaligon’s, Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and others such as Under Armour and The Cornish Bakery.

 

Hammerson has collected just 41% of its rents for Q1 2021, it has announced. The company, that owns the Bullring in Birmingham and and Brent Cross schemes has agreed to defer another £12.9m as many tenants are impacted by the current lockdown. A spokesperson for the company said in a statement: Following these transactions Hammerson continues to maintain high levels of liquidity, having access to its £1.245m of available undrawn revolving credit facilities as well as substantial cash holdings.”

 

Motor Fuel Group (MFG) will purchase seven sixteen stations from BP. COO of MFG Jeremy Clarke said in a statement: “It is a great opportunity for us to apply our proven operating model, improve the shop offering for our customers, introduce a ‘food to go’ option where appropriate and improve the valeting offer. We will also be looking to install a number of high power EV chargers at each location.”

 

Developer Bruntwood Works together with Trafford Council have revealed new plans to transform the high street into a ‘village-like’ mix of open spaces. Included in the plans is ample space for independent occupiers and new leisure concepts. The plans also include redevelopment of the Stretford Mall. Trafford Council’s Andrew Western said in a statement: “I am hugely excited by the wide-ranging regeneration plans for Stretford and I know local residents also share that excitement.”

 

Openings and closures

Neat Burger, the plant-based burger chain backed by Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, is planning to open at least five further UK restaurants this year; Birmingham-based chef Andrew Sheridan is to launch a street food van that will serve French bistro dishes as well as putting on a number of collaborations with other well-known chefs.

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