Hauliers fear 'Armageddon of liquidations' as non-essential retailers begin to reopen (or not reopen)

Fear of an 'Armageddon of liquidations' as non-essential retailers begin to reopen (or not reopen)

When Arcadia when bust last year suppliers were owed £163m. So it is no wonder that there’s a huge nervousness out there amongst traders supplying a range of retailers during the pandemic. Basically the question is will they reopen - and if they don’t will the suppliers get paid? There’s been a lot of behind-closed-door-negotiations with administrators seeking to offload famous names such as Debenhams. Boohoo have picked up the trading name and goodwill of Debenhams £55 million but not the stores – they are all set to close leaving more than 10,000 staff redundant.

Pic: Topshop model for Elle Canada

And it is not just those who supply shops with clothing, hardware, electronics and catalogues the landlords are taking massive losses as well as finding themselves with empty properties. Arcadia left their landlords with £37m in unpaid rent while the taxman lost out with a £44m unpaid tax bill.

This year Peacocks who were owned by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill (another casualty) has been transferred to a now owner called Anglo-global Properties who the centre for Retail Research believes are strongly connected to Peacock’s creditors who were left with £22.9m in unpaid invoices and the landlords with £29m in lost rent.

Preston St George’s Shopping Centre has gone bust and is in administration while trading as normal. Along with shopping centres in Wigan and elsewhere the question is who will buy them? It’s a reoccurring problem for the so-called non-essential retail sector such as Jaeger. The posh ladies’ store went into administration and was picked up by Marks & Spencer – but not the staff or stores which have been absorbed in M&S. The name lives on but not the shops – like Debenhams and like Cath Kidston and many others. A sad day for the industry indeed. And it’s not just those suppliers of retailers that are hit – it’s the hauliers as well. Motor Transport magazine reported that one haulier said they could see an Armageddon of liquidations in retailing leaving them with less work. The source said: “We fully expect that some of our fashion customers will never open their doors again." 

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