Non-essential shops across the UK are open to the public after months of being shut under government lockdown restrictions – but for many retailers the future remains bleak.
Despite an initial surge in demand as the high street reopened, swathes of retailers are in desperate financial straits.
In the last week alone, DW Sports has fell into administration putting 1,700 jobs at risk, while UK bed retailer Feather & Black confirmed it was closing its stores permanently after being bought up by bed and mattress giant Dreams.
It is the long-old story of the high street’s demise, which according to one insolvency expert is likely to continue.
Rick Smith, managing director of company rescue specialists Forbes Burton, believes more shops could disappear from the high street this year.
“Retail has been hit particularly hard,” he said. “Despite the Government’s care packages in the form of various loan schemes, it could be that we have to wave goodbye to a number of large brands or chains.
“Scale is important at a time like this, so those who have too many overheads not being serviced by a constant supply of footfall may find their physical presence in the high street might be too much to ride out.”
But which stores have already gone into administration in 2020?
Business Live takes a look at data gathered by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), which reveals the retailers that have called in administrators this year.
Oliver Sweeney Trading
The bricks-and-mortar retail arm of the prestige shoe company Oliver Sweeney Group was placed in administration in mid-July, according to the CRR.
The company’s seven stores, which include branches in London’s Mayfair, Leadenhall Market and Covent Garden, as well as outlets in Leeds and Manchester, will remain permanently closed.
This administration does not affect the wholesale and online business, the CRR reports.
Tim Cooper, Oliver Sweeney’s chief executive and cobbler-in-chief, will continue to lead the company.
He told Drapers: “We are disappointed that the stores will no longer continue, but we are confident and excited about the brand going forward online. The online business is performing very well.”
Peter Jones (China)
The gifts and homeware retailer went into administration in mid-July.
The 50-year-old company had stores in Barnsley, Doncaster, Batley, Huddersfield, Castleford, Pontefract, Wakefield and Wetherby, and had been closed for business since lockdown, with its 70 staff on furlough.
KPMG was appointed as administrator and the business is expected to be liquidated, according to the CRR.
The Gloucester-based glasses company went into administration in July, but Bath-based designer eyewear firm Inspecs bought up the manufacturing arm of the business from administrators BDO for £2.4million.
The deal includeed £1.2million of freehold property for Norville’s Gloucester site and the remainder for stock, plant, IP and contracts.
Norville’s operations were undertaken mainly at the company’s headquarters in Gloucester, with smaller bases in Bolton, Seaham and Livingston.
Bensons for Beds
The bed retailer was put into pre-pack administration in June.
Turnaround company Alteri, Benson’s existing owner, bought the business out immediately and put £25m into the company to invest in its development, according to the CRR.
There are 242 stores and 1,900 staff, and the company continues to trade, the CRR reports.
The UK’s second-largest furniture retailer was put into administration by its owners Alteri Investors on the last day of June – the same day as Benson’s for Beds – according to the CRR.
The company, which has 105 stores and 1,575 staff, is reportedly looking to close 20 stores and 240 jobs were made immediately redundant.
Zelf Hussain, Peter Dickens and Yulia Marshall of PwC were appointed as joint administrators.
The company continues to trade and existing orders will be carried out, CRR said.
The retailer of shirts and ties went into pre-pack administration in June, according to the CRR.
The firm had recently been bought by Stonebridge Private Equity through its subsidiary Torque Brands, with the new owner saying that the future of the entire retail sector was facing a “very real threat.”
The retailer is to close all of its UK stores and around 600 workers will lose their jobs after the firm said it was going online-only in a bid to save the 120-year-old brand.
“The Torque team has worked to assess all available avenues for the business model going forwards, but having done so, has formed the view that TM Lewin is no longer a viable going concern in its current format,” it said.
The book wholesaler, which was founded in a chicken shed in 1968, went into administration last week.
The Norwich-based company appointed Turpin Barker Armstrong as administrators.
According to the CRR, most of its 450-strong workforce were made redundant.
The original owner of the company, Kip Bertram, sold off the business in 1999. He told the BBC the collapse was “very sad for the staff, the city of Norwich and the customers”.
JD Sports bought back its Go Outdoors business for £56.5million after pushing it into administration this month.
It said the move would “preserve as many jobs as possible” at Go Outdoors, which sells waterproof clothing, bikes and camping products.
However, JD Sports said it will push forward with a major restructuring of Go Outdoors, which employs 2,400 staff, and intends to “retain the majority” of its retail stores.
The retail group hired administrators from corporate finance firm Deloitte after it saw sales hammered by the coronavirus crisis.
The historic Birmingham retailer founded more than a century ago was placed into administration this month.
The high-end furniture chain has appointed financial services firm Duff & Phelps as administrator while it continues to battle the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
A statement from Duff & Phelps said the move was necessary to protect the retailer but reassured customers it was business as usual and that orders would be fulfilled.
Lee Longlands was founded in Birmingham in 1902 by Robert Lee and George Longland and they opened their first store at 304 Broad Street, taking advantage of its location next to the canal to bring in timber.
The UK’s largest retailer of oak furniture was saved from the brink of collapse in June after being bought up in a pre-pack administration deal.
The chain was sold for an undisclosed sum to hedge fund Davidson Kempner, saving 1,491 jobs.
Business operations are continuing as normal, according to Deloitte, and showrooms and warehouses began to reopen last week.
Le Pain Quotidien
The bakery chain was sold out of administration in a pre-pack deal in mid-June.
The Belgium-owned chain’s UK business was bought by a new vehicle, BrunchCo21, according to the CRR.
A total of 11 of its 26 outlets have been closed with the loss of around 200 jobs in stores and the closure of the UK head office.
The new owners are reportedly negotiating a deal with the landlords for the remaining 16 properties.
The fashion chain announced today (June 10) it expects to cut 545 jobs from the business despite founder Peter Simon buying the chain out of administration almost immediately. A total of 35 stores are also expected to close across the UK.
The deal will transfer around 450 jobs to Adena Brands, owned by Mr Simon, which has promised to inject £15million into the business to allow the remaining stores to stay open.
Mr Simon will try to renegotiate with landlords to get a better deal on the remaining 162 store leases.
The clothing retailer is reportedly placing the division that runs its 82 standalone branches into administration, according to ITV, which said 93 jobs are at risk.
The move is reportedly part of a restructure to get rid off loss-making stores and reduce the company’s rent bill.
The group reportedly said 822 of the 915 staff affected by the decision will remain with the group.
The UK arm of the luxury lingerie retailer fell into administration this month, putting more than 800 jobs at risk.
The chain has 25 shops in the UK, which are currently closed in line with government lockdown rules.
Auditing firm Deloitte has been appointed as administrator and is now seeking a buyer for the business. It said there would be no immediate redundancies.
The UK arm of Candadian footwear chain Aldo went into administration in May.
Five UK stores have been permanently closed, according to the CRR, leaving eight surviving while the administrators seek new owners for the UK business.
It s not yet clear how many jobs could be affected.
Johnsons Shoes operates 12 stores under the brands Johnsons Shoes and Bowleys Fine Shoes.
The retailer has stores in Windsor, Newbury, Staines, Teddington, East Sheen, New Malden, Twickenham, Walton-on-Thames, Northwood, Richmond, Beaconsfield and Farnham.
All of the retailer’s 145 staff have been furloughed while the administrators seek a buyer to try and “secure jobs and get the best deal for creditors”.
The luxury luggage retailer, which was founded in 1914, went into administration last month and 164 people were made redundant.
Will Wright and Steve Absolom of KPMG’s restructuring practice were appointed joint administrators to Antler Holdings Limited and Antler.
The company operates 18 retail stores and one concession outlet, in addition to selling via their website, Amazon and wholesale to several large retail chains across the UK.
The business employed around 199 members of staff, the majority of whom were placed on furlough before the administrators were appointed.
Oasis and Warehouse Group
The company behind Oasis and Warehouse went into administration in April.
Auditing and advisory firm Deloitte was appointed as administrator and it has said all stores will close indefinitely and online sales will be stopped.
The fashion brands have been sold to restructuring business Hilco, according to the Guardian, in a deal which includes stock but not the 92 stores or 437 concessions.
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Speaking in April, Hash Ladha, chief executive of Oasis Warehouse, said: “This is a situation that none of us could have predicted a month ago, and comes as shocking and difficult news for all of us.
“We as a management team have done everything we can to try and save the iconic brands that we love.”
Debenhams confirmed it had formally entered administration at the start of April.
It is the second time the department store, which employs around 22,000 people, has gone into administration in the last 12 months.
The retailer had already announced the closure of 19 UK stores in January, but since April it has announced another 20 will not open.
However, as part of a restructuring, Debenhams has struck deals with landlords to keep 120 stores open, according to the BBC.
However, the owner of Cath Kidston has secured a deal to buy back the brand and its online operations, but this does not include bricks-and-mortar shops.
The closure of stores will lead to the loss of around 900 jobs, according to the Guardian.
Women’s fashion brand Autonomy went into administration in March and all 44 employees were made redundant, according to the CRR.
The retailer had three standalone stores in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, Bideford in Devon, and Tillicoultry in Scotland, as well as more than 100 concessions across the UK.
All concessions and stores were closed temporarily in line with government guidance – and there are reportedly no plans to re-open them, according to Drapers.
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The furniture company reportedly went into administration at the end of March.
The retailer, which operated online, has experienced two pre-pack administrations before – in 2009 and 2011.
All 43 staff were made redundant, according to the CRR.
Rent-to-own high street retailer BrightHouse went into administration in March, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk.
The chain had announced plans to axe 30 stores in February in a bid to salvage the company.
Then all stores had to close because of the coronavirus lockdown. It now appears all 240 stores will remain closed and 2,400 employees will lose their jobs, according to Wales Online.
Administrators said the chain’s 200,000 customers will need to keep making payments, with administrators either running down the lending book or seeking to sell it on.
The fashion retailer went into administration in mid-March but US-based restructuring company Gordon Brothers bought the chain out of administration in April.
All the retailer’s high street stores are currently closed due to lockdown and 1,669 staff have been furloughed on the government’s job retention scheme.
It is still unclear what will happen to stores after restrictions end.
The online bathroom retailer collapsed at the end of February.
According to a report by The Telegraph, accountancy firm BDO was attempting to find a buyer after the firms’ turnover reportedly dropped from £70million in 2018 to £43million.
Corporate recovery specialist Leonard Curtis was later appointed as the administrator after Soak.com failed to find a buyer.
TJ Hughes’ outlet division
The company behind the outlet division of TJ Hughes collapsed in February, but was later bought out of administration in a rescue deal.
Four Lewis’s Home Retail outlet department stores were reportedly sold through a pre-pack sale to LHR Holding, saving more than 150 jobs.
However, according to administrators Springfields Advisory, it was not possible to sell several smaller outlets, reportedly leading to 80 redundancies and five store closures.
LHR Holding owns 18 TJ Hughes-branded department stores nationally, as well as tjhughes.co.uk, and they were not affected.
Gift and toy chain Hawkin’s Bazaar collapsed into administration in January, putting 177 jobs at risk.
The Norwich-based company suspended its website but reportedly said it would continue trading from its 20 stores until further notice, Wales Online reports.
The company drafted in Moorfields Advisory as administrators to seek a rescue deal after it suffered a “challenging Christmas period”.
The large furniture retailer in Kent went into administration in February – and closed its store after 15 years.
The shop, which sold mattresses and furniture for bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms, appointed Vincent John Green and Mark Newman of Crowe UK as administrators.
In a statement to Kent Online, the owners said: “Unfortunately, prolonged and continued M20 Junction 10a roadworks have caused a devastating downturn in trade in the last three years, combined with increased rent and business rates.
“The family business could not continue trading.”
The department store chain collapsed into administration in January after failing to find a last-minute buyer to rescue the 139-year-old business.
In March, the joint administrators confirmed all remaining outlets would cease trading. The retailer employed around 1,000 people.
The firm has stores in locations across the country, including in Southport and Wolverhampton.
Hearing Health and Mobility
The chain of hearing and mobility stores reportedly called in Grant Thornton as administrators in January.
Alistair Wardell and Richard Lewis were appointed to oversee the winding up of the company, according to Access and Mobility Professional.
The company sold hearing aids and medical and orthopaedic goods in specialised stores.
The online designer furniture and homeware retailer went into administration in January with the loss of 23 jobs, reports CRR.
However, the company was snapped up by homeware brand Olivia’s – part of the Moot Group – for an undisclosed sum, according to Insider.co.uk.
Bureau, its office-oriented associate business, continues to trade and is not affected by Houseology’s administration.