What important business stories happened this week?

Cafe Rouge/Bella Italia

The Casual Dining Group, which owns such well known restaurants as Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas, has gone into administration.

91 outlets will immediately close with 1,900 positions going with this decision. 

Chief Executive James Spragg said: “We’re acutely aware of our duty to all employees and recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for them.

“Working alongside the administrators, we’ll do everything we can to support them through this process, with a view to preserving as much employment as we’re able to.”

Peter Jones
One of Yorkshire’s best known homewares and gifts retailers – Peter Jones – has gone into administration with the loss of 70 positions and 10 stores in various locations. 
A spokesperson for the administrator said: “Lockdown was a challenge too far for this retailer’s finances and in the unfortunate situation that it cannot continue to trade, we’re managing a sale of its stock, in order to seek a return to creditors, and managing the wind-down process.”

T M Lewin folds

Shirtmaker T M Lewin entered into administration and will see all of its 66 retail outlets close with a loss of 600 jobs across the UK. 

The group’s owners, Stonebridge Private Equity, bought back the brand’s remaining assets including its online business in the pre-pack deal

Stonebridge said that in the current format T M Lewin was no longer a viable going concern.  

They said: “The business is unable to sustain current rental agreements for its store network across the country. 

“With all stores still remaining closed due to social distancing guidelines, our customers have been unable to shop in store for the past three plus months; this has forced our hands to focus on a radical overhaul of the business model, rebuilding from the ground up in a fashion we deem fit for the years to come.”

Soletrader closes stores and goes into CVL

Shoe retailer Sole Trader has entered into a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation and closed eight of its UK stores as a result. The remaining stores and the website hope to reopen to trade later this month. 

The company said it was a necessary action and will place the brand “in a strong position for a future beyond Covid-19, as the retail industry comes to terms with the macroeconomic consequences of the current crisis.

Marcel Bordon, director of the company said: “For more than 50 years, Soletrader has been a fixture on the high street, at the forefront of premium footwear trends. During this time, we have faced challenges big and small and come through them by supporting each other and working together. 

“But we have never experienced a challenge like the present Covid-19 pandemic, which forced us to close our network of UK stores during lockdown. The financial impact of the virus has further complicated some of the well-documented challenges that we, and the wider retail industry continue to face, such as the rise of the online shopping and the UK’s business rates system. 

Russian Criminals and Brexit shatter Customade’s hopes for a good 2022

One of the UK’s best-known double glazing manufacturers has gone into administration causing two of their eleven factories in Halifax and Livingstone to close. 

The group hopes to continue to trade in the future but pointed to a string of negative factors that caused the company into a pre-pack deal. 

They said: “At the end of 2019, we were dealing with Brexit and there was a General Election, which impacted consumer confidence. To add to this, in December two of our biggest customers went bust. 

“Then in January 2020 we suffered from a Russian ransomware attack. Following this we managed to get the business back up and running in February and we had a decent order book going forward. Then we went into lockdown and this hit the business once again.”

AllSaints rise again through CVA

The UK and US fashion retailer AllSaints entered a Company Voluntary Administration deal which was approved by its creditors late last week. 

The move saw the majority of its 41 UK stores and 42 American-based stores move to a turnover based rental agreement. 

Chief Executive Peter Wood said: “We’re delighted that the majority of our landlords across the UK and US voted in favour of our proposals, and would like to thank them for their patience and understanding. 

“The decision to launch the CVAs was not taken lightly, and this successful outcome will be instrumental in helping us to ensure the long-term viability of AllSaints.”

There’s some confusion around what is and isn’t allowed in businesses and offices in the UK, which isn’t helping any Covid-19 recovery. 

It’s going to take consumer confidence to regrow before we can begin to think about economic matters returning to normal again, which may be a while. 

So you might as well use the time you have to to get your business ready for recovery in the weeks and months ahead. 

Get in touch with us  and we’ll help you focus on what you can do in the short and medium term to make your company leaner, stronger and better equipped to face whatever the rest of 2020 can throw at it. 

We’ll arrange a free, initial virtual consultation with you to help identify what the priority areas of concern are and what you can do to make sure they’re dealt with by the time your doors are fully open.