What business stories have you missed this week?
That’s not quite the case right now – restrictions are certainly easing but any business that is planning to reopen from Saturday 4th July will be making a lot of changes and alterations just to be ready to accept customers – let alone push ahead and start making profits again.
While you’re readying your company to welcome staff or customers back in the not-too-distant future, we’ve gathered all the interesting stories you might have missed while you were literally taking care of business.
Go Outdoors sold in pre-pack administration
Go Outdoors was facing many underlying challenges before the Covid-19 crisis erupted and owners JD Sports have taken the opportunity to restructure their business in order to secure its long term future.
The group said it had considered several potential options for the chain and its 67 stores including a potential sale but ultimately determined that the business had better chance of success within the wider group “if fundamentally restructured and retaining the majority” of its retail stores across the country.
Peter Cowgill, Executive Chairman of JD Sports said: “Having investigated all available options for the business, we firmly believe that this restructuring will provide Go Outdoors with a platform from which it can progress whilst remaining a member of the group.
“Most importantly, we are pleased that it will protect the maximum number of jobs possible.”
AllSaints look for salvation in a CVA
Fashion and shoe retailer AllSaints has gone into a Company Voluntary Arrangement to restructure the company and the rent arrangements on its 42 UK stores.
The brand operates in 26 countries and hopes to continue but says that a small number of their unviable stores will close as a result while the rest will “effectively align landlords with the business recovery” and will hopefully protect the retailer from further store closures.
The other shoe drops for Hotter
Hotter Shoes – the UK’s largest shoe manufacturer – is entering a CVA after negotiations with landlords for rental reductions fell through.
The CVA will see 65 stores close and redundancies across the firm including at their Skelmersdale head office.
A spokesperson said: “Before the pandemic hit, Hotter, under a new chief executive Ian Watson, was making good progress to accelerate the implementation of a digitisation strategy to return it to its direct marketing roots.
“The need for these actions has been intensified by the consequences of the past three months of lockdown.
“If successful, the proposed CVA will result in fewer stores, which will secure the future of a smaller, sustainable business and will save over 350 jobs.”
The book closes for Bertrams
A 52-year-old book wholesaler in Norfolk has gone into administration with the loss of 450 jobs to redundancy.
Bertrams Books were founded in a chicken shed in 1968 before building up to their current size.
The administrators said: “Book wholesalers have suffered from falling demand in recent years due to changes in the distribution model for literature and the rising popularity of e-books.
“These factors, combined with the Covid-19 related closure of many public libraries and educational facilities meant these businesses could no longer operate viably.”
Birmingham furniture institution Lee Longlands seeks administration protections
Midlands-based Lee Longlands, a popular and long-standing furniture retailer being formed in 1902, has gone into administration.
The business is looking to restructure and come out more financially stable and viable than before to protect the staff working at its six showrooms across the midlands.
The administrators said: “Lee Longlands has a fantastic reputation for quality and service. It’s a long-standing profitable business and the fact that the appointment of administrators has been necessary, demonstrates the devastating financial impact that this pandemic will leave in its wake.
“This is a firm with a sound financial proposition. Being unable to trade for almost three months has severely disrupted its working capital cycle but working with management and with the support of the company’s suppliers, we will be focusing on restructuring its cash flow and exiting the administration period as soon as possible.”
First UK Zoo to close from lockdown pressures
Living Coasts Zoo in Torquay is the first in the UK to permanently close its doors due to the lack of revenue and visitors.
The zoo, which had been operating for over 20 years, specialised in penguins, puffins and other sea birds and animals couldn’t continue to operate without an income stream. A statement said: “It is with regret that Wild Planet Trust has to announce it will not be reopening Living Coasts as a visitor attraction following its closure during the current global coronavirus pandemic.
“Falling visitor numbers and the forced closure of all its zoos due to COVID-19 has meant it has had to look at its cost base and make efficiencies. After 20 years of operation the site also needed substantial maintenance that the Trust is no longer in a position to afford.
“Most of the animals kept at Living Coasts are marine species that will need specialist facilities. Living Coasts are confident that good new homes for the animals will be found but at present it is unclear how long this process may take.”
44 staff positions have also been made redundant with the closure.
Running a business is tough and the last three months have been the toughest most directors and owners have seen.
It might take a while, if ever, for things to resume how they were before anyone had heard of the word “coronavirus” so some companies might need some help to stabilize before they can look ahead to reopening and reengaging with customers.
Get in touch with us if you feel like you could do with some friendly, expert advice on where your company can go from here.
We’ll arrange a free, initial virtual consultation with you to help identify what you can do to support your business and what changes you can make to preserve and protect it in these challenging circumstances.