The key information you need to know
Even though Guy Fawkes night has officially been postponed, the bang and whine of fireworks fills the air along with the more reassuring and palatable smell of autumn bonfires – once you’ve established that it’s an office fire and not one caused by an errant rocket you’d heard explode a couple of minutes earlier.
What was less predictable was that we’d be entering another lockdown.
The announcement was made quickly as was the shoring up of official support behind it including extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until March 2021.
Even with extended support, the forced closure of a lot of businesses in the next four weeks, in the critical trading period running up to Christmas, might prove to be terminal for them.
The situation is already tightening for a lot of businesses and the current restrictions might just be enough for the threads supporting them to finally snap.
What were the main stories last month?
Here’s our regular round-up of the biggest insolvency and administration stories you might have missed in the past couple of weeks.
While the business has been unable to open any of its 19 London locations since the first lockdown was implemented nationwide in March.
Founder Mark Lilley said: “Unfortunately, in light of the continued uncertainty, the accumulating liabilities and the existing leasehold structures, it was impossible to secure sufficient investment to reopen the business.
“However, for a business such as Abokado, which is entirely dependent on London’s office community, the overnight shift to working from home and the emptying out of central London has been simply devastating.
“Our hope is for the Abokado brand to re-emerge at some point in the future and in turn to create employment, to once again be a well-loved amenity for London’s workforce and to continue doing good within the community.”
One of the staples of new life in the UK is receiving a package from Bounty once a newborn arrives. Their welcome packs contain popular samples of products that every new mum will need including feed and nappies and can be a great help when sleep deprived and confused new parents come home at all hours and can’t find what they’re looking for.
Sadly, the Covid-19 lockdown caused their baby portrait section to cease operations and this great loss of income has severely impacted the business financially.
A pre-pack administration deal is expected to see the company’s sampling and data divisions bought out by existing management but with the loss of approx 300 of their 340 permanent positions.
They hope to be able to focus on the company’s core strengths as babies are continuing to be born throughout the health crisis – some possibly because of it!
Clarks’ – The 195-year-old high street staple and one of the oldest stores in the country – is expected to enter into a CVA later this month which will protect the jobs of all of its employees and allow all of its stores to remain open when the lockdown allows them.
The deal, which will be voted on by creditors would also see them agree to a rent-free period on 60 of their stores.
Philip de Klerk, their interim finance chief said: “In order to address the permanent shift in structural shopping behaviour as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the CVA is being launched out of absolute necessity.
“The proposal to creditors outlines a combination of a reduction of rent and a move to rebase Clarks’ rental cost base through a turnover-based model that aligns to future performance and reflects the wider retail market.
“As part of the CVA, we will move 60 of our 320 stores to nil rent. It is important to stress that we are not announcing the closure of any stores and employees and suppliers will continue to be paid.”
One of the most well-known bakery chains in the South West, Shauls Bakery, has gone into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation due to being insolvent.
The company had 12 branches across Devon and Somerset and closed them all in March during the first lockdown but were unable to open them.
A notice was placed in the London Gazette and a formal resolution to wind up the company was passed at a general meeting of the firm and a liquidator appointed.
Formed in 1961, the bakery’s first HQ is now a block of flats called Shauls House so there will always be a reminder of them in the area.
Clothing 4 Schools, a prolific manufacturer and retailer of school uniforms across the east and west midlands has gone into administration. The business had five outlets including its head office in Burton but all remain closed while the administrator proceeds with their work.
PGL Travel, one of the UK’s largest outdoor activity holiday suppliers for schools, has announced that it is cutting 670 positions from its workforce.
A spokesperson said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and the on-going travel restrictions have had an unprecedented impact on the educational travel sector and NST.
“In this context, we have finalised a redundancy consultation process and it is with great regret that we advise the loss of 42 jobs, around 25% of our Blackpool-based workforce. As we conclude a further consultation process, a further 636 colleagues have been made redundant across the PGL group, representing a 25% reduction in our total workforce.
“We have taken this step to ensure that we can continue to provide life-changing school trips in the future,once travel restrictions are lifted. The passion and commitment of our team has always been a key part of providing memorable experiences for schools and we are sorry that it has been necessary to take this step.
“We would like to thank our colleagues for their patience and understanding at this difficult time.”
Now Guy Fawkes Night is past, it would usually be a six-week sprint to Christmas for a lot of companies.
But with a new lockdown in England and restrictions in the other UK countries continuing, it’s a mixed outlook for most to say the least.
One of the only things we can say with any certainty is that we’re always ready to speak to you if you get in touch with us.
An expert advisor will arrange your free virtual initial consultation for whenever is most convenient to discuss what issues your business is facing and how best to tackle them.