A week on the high street

9th December

December 11, 2020

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retail

Frasers Group has made a last-minute bid to save troubled department store Debenhams, however it has insisted that there is no guarantee that a deal can be agreed. It claimed that the administration of Arcadia Group has made a potential deal more complex but it “hopes that a rescue package can be put in place and jobs saved”.

 

Barnsley Council is leading the way to boost recovery of the local economy by introducing a new Barnsley Gift Card which can be pre-loaded with up to £500, ready to be spent across the towns’ independent and chain stores as well as at the local market. The Leader of Barnsley Council said in a statement: “The Barnsley Gift Card is a great way to encourage our residents to keep the pound in Barnsley by shopping locally. More businesses are being added weekly, and we fully expect to have over 100 businesses across the borough signed up next year.

 

The CMA is launching an investigation into the Issa brothers’ takeover of supermarket chain Asda. The Issa brothers run the petrol forecourt business EG Group who operate over 6,000 petrol stations across the world. The CMA has raised concerns about the overlap of the two businesses.

 

Supermarkets reported a record month of sales, reaching £10.9billion across both stores and online in November. Of these sales, online accounted for 13.7%. UK shoppers are going all out to make sure that this year is the best ever after a tough year with sales in cream liquors, turkeys and Christmas lights all up significantly.

 

Lingerie retailer Ann Summers has confirmed that it will launch a CVA that will see 91 stores renegotiate lease agreements and the others placed in consideration for closure. CEO Jacqueline Gold said in a statement: “Ann Summers has a bright future but if the business is to fulfil its potential and prosper in the post-Covid trading environment, we need to align our property costs so they reflect the challenges facing today’s high street. I’m grateful to the majority of our landlords who have worked constructively with us to agree sensible terms on the vast majority of our stores, and these landlords will not be affected by the CVA.

 

Caffè Nero’s shareholders have set up a £5m ‘standby fund’ to support the business through the pandemic. The coffee chain will see many units switch to turnover-based rents after a CVA was voted in by creditors. A spokesperson for Caffè Nero said: “As part of the CVA, shareholders committed to making a £5m standby fund available to the business if a CVA was approved, in case additional liquidity was needed… The fund, if required, would help ensure the survival of the business and protect creditors until more normal trading conditions prevail where they will benefit from the agreed turnover-based rent structure."

 

Leisure

UKHospitality, the trade body for the leisure sector has predicted that revenues for December will be down by 70% across the sector. The government has offered £1,000 to wet led pubs which cannot open as they don’t offer food but this has been criticised by many as being nowhere near sufficient to support businesses. Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association told Property Week that businesses such as nightclubs and music venues need an exit strategy and a cash injection urgently. He said “They need enough money to get them through to the point where they can reopen and a resolution on commercial rents… and they need that immediately.”

 

Property

The government has announced it will extend the moratorium on commercial evictions until March 21st next year as the COVID-19 restrictions continue to impact the retail market. However housing secretary Robert Jenrick added that it would not be extended further. He said: “We are witnessing a profound adjustment in commercial property. It is critical that landlords and tenants across the country use the coming months to reach agreements on rent wherever possible and enable viable businesses to continue to operate,”

 

Openings and closures

Icon Outlet at The O2 has announced international designer brand, Lacoste, is the latest retailer to sign for its newest outlet store at the destination; Peloton announced plans to open its latest retail showroom in Harrods; Merrell, the leading outdoor footwear brand, has partnered with Blacks to launch its first shop in shop in the UK; Footwear retailer, Shoe Zone, is set to open four stores in December after giving them a revamp; Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen, is opening its latest store at Bicester Village; Russian-founded pizza delivery brand Dodo Pizza is targeting a number of new openings for 2021; Zara has opened its 37,000 sq ft new concept store at Landsec’s Bluewater shopping centre.

H1 2020 market analysis

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