And then there were none. HMV, the last nationwide music chain on the high street, has just announced that after an awful Christmas it will appoint administrators.
That move – just six years after it was last rescued from administration – puts all 125 of its stores and 2025 staff at risk.
HMV executive chairman Paul McGowan said: “Even an exceptionally well-run and much-loved business such as HMV cannot withstand the tsunami of challenges facing UK retailers over the last 12 months on top of such a dramatic change in consumer behaviour in the entertainment market.”
HMV is the latest, and hopefully last, of the stores going bust and shutting branches in 2018 – but January is expected to see more firms fail as struggling shops hoping for a great Christmas to bail them out face disapointment.
It’s far from alone. This year House of Fraser (briefly), Poundworld, Maplin and Toys R Us all entered administration.
A sting of others announced branch closures and even more – including Superdry, Carpetright and Card Factory – have issued profit warnings.
These are the major closures in just the past year – and the ones still wobbling.
House of Fraser
It’s months since House of Fraser first went into administration, and then was bought by Sports Direct, but the store closures keep coming.
Four more locations were slated to close just last month as the new owners try to do deals with landlords.
“It is with regret that House of Fraser today announces that the following stores are facing closure: Lakeside, Metrocentre, Norwich, and Nottingham,” the company said in a statement.
“Despite our best efforts we have been unable to agree reasonable terms for these stores to continue trading. Sadly, we are now in consultation with staff about the fact these stores face closure.
“We hope other institutional landlords will continue to work with us in order to save stores and jobs.”
In January, House of Fraser had 59 leased stores across the UK and Ireland – at least 20 have close.
Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley said he was trying to keep as many as possible open, but struggling with some landlords to agree terms.
Debenhams has warned of 50 more store closures after previously earmarking just 10.
Releasing a warning to the markets in October, it confirmed plans to ramp up its transformation program with a further 50 underperforming branches on the line, along with 4,000 jobs.
It’s part of boss Sergio Bucher’s plans to rebrand the department store amid the rapid shift to online shopping – after he joined the business to 2016 to make it the “department store of the future”.
This includes a huge drive towards Debenhams‘ beauty arm with ‘more choice and digital innovation’ while saving the business at least £130 million in the process.
Of all 166 in the UK, 50 of the stores it deems ‘could be the least profiting’ over the next five years are at risk – the ones that make up less than 15% of the chain’s overall annual profits.
M&S has announced the next tranche of UK stores set to close as it reshuffles to take at least a third of sales online.
The British brand, which is currently mid-way a transformation project has confirmed plans to close over 100 stores in total by 2022 , including 18 that have already closed, three that have relocated, plus 14 announced in May.
The latter includes nine that branches that have now entered consultation and five confirmed to shut down.
It’s part of a wider project announced in November 2016 to reduce the firm’s shopfloor space on food and clothing in a project spearheaded by chairman Archie Norman.
Alongside relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions, the brand said these closures will radically reshape M&S’s clothing and home space.
Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at Marks & Spencer said: “We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans. Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S.
Nearly 100 Carphone Warehouse stores are to close this year as the retailer’s boss pledged to “take action” to tackle challenges in the mobile phone market.
Dixons Carphone said that it will shut 92 Carphone Warehouse standalone stores this year as it grapples with changing consumer habits.
Hard-pressed consumers are holding on to older devices for longer and going “Sim-only”, which have dented the group’s performance.
However, the firm insisted that no jobs will be lost as staff will be offered the chance to move to larger outlets nearby.
New boss Alex Baldock, who replaced the long standing Seb James earlier this year, said: “Right now, with our international business in good shape, we’re focusing early action on the UK.
“In electricals, we’re focused on gross margin recovery. In mobile, we’re stabilising our performance through improvements to our proposition and network agreements.
“In both, we’ll work hard to improve our cost efficiency. We won’t tolerate our current performance in mobile, or as a group. We know we can do a lot better.”
See more on Carphone Warehouse closures here .
The John Lewis Partnership has warned over profits and said it would close five Waitrose stores as tough trading on the high street takes its toll on the firm.
The group, which is hosting a strategy day, said it does not expect to make a half-year profit, while profits for the full year will come in “substantially” lower than last year.
It bemoaned “market uncertainty” and cited significant extra costs at the partnership as a result of “greater IT investment”, which will be a driver of the profit decline.
Waitrose will shut four convenience shops and one small supermarket, affecting around 200 staff.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, warned that the malaise “isn’t a blip”.
The firm also announced a new look, emphasising its partnership model, where staff own the store rather than shareholders of investors.
The website – which specialised in non-food products will – closed on 9 July with some lines, including electricals, toys and household goods to be shifted across to branches and the main Tesco website.
In a statement, the firm said: “Tesco has conducted a detailed review of Tesco Direct, its non-food website, and has concluded that, despite its best efforts, there is no route to profitability for this small, loss-making part of the business.”
The business said it’s faced a number of significant challenges, including high costs for fulfilment and online marketing, alongside increased competition from the likes of Amazon.
Poundworld will disappeared from the high street in the summer after its administrators announced the chain’s final set of store closures.
Deloitte has said all of Poundworld’s stores will likely close by August 10, affecting 2,339 staff.
The budget retailer is also closing its warehouse and distribution network, alongside its head office in Normanton, West Yorkshire, leading to the loss of 300 jobs.
It comes after bosses announced the closure of 145 Poundworld stores earlier this month – 25 of which have already shut down.
The good news is new owner Manni Hussain is planning on bringing the brand back to Britain’s town centres.
“In my opinion, the only business that can survive on the high street, especially with Brexit coming, is something that is affordable to everyone,” Hussain told The Grocer.
“I really want a pound shop in every area there is, deprived or not”.
Just hours after Toys R Us announced it was in administration, Maplin followed.
Some 200 shops and 2,500 staff at the electronics retailer are now at risk – although it’s still trading at the moment.
By June all outlets were closed, but it is about to start trading online again after Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones bought rights to the online brand.
The website currently reads: “We’re back and will be celebrating our website relaunch very soon!”
Carpetright has unveiled a loss before tax of £11.7 million for the first half as it closed 65 stores in a dramatic restructuring plan.
The company said 11 more are set to be closed in the next few months.
On top of that, the majority of the remaining stores now have an option to break within two years – the firm said – allowing it the “flexibility to downsize and/or relocate in a fast changing retail environment”.
Chief executive Wilf Walsh said: “The store closure programme has been extensive along with, regrettably, a number of redundancies in both stores.”
The US company behind Claire’s Accessories has filed for bankruptcy protection as part of a move to reduce its debt by £1.3 billion.
Claire’s at first said its shops, including 378 in the UK, will remain open for now as it presses ahead with a financial restructure.
But that position has since moved.
According to PA, a rescue plan being considered by the firm is a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – where some stores are closed outright and rents are reduced on the others.
As things stand, Claire’s chief executive Ron Marshall has said it has no firm plans for either a CVA or major store closures in the UK.
“Any stores we do close or open in the UK would be as part of our normal course of business,” he added.
Mothercare has been given the green light to swing the axe on 50 underperforming stores in a move that will see 800 jobs put at risk.
The store closures will be carried out through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – a move which allows companies to close loss-making shops and secure rental discounts.
Mothercare said it had received the backing of creditors, including its landlords, to press ahead with the CVA.
Mothercare currently employs about 3,000 people across 137 outlets.
The store closure programme is part of a wide-ranging restructuring plan that will also see Mothercare bag a refinancing package worth up to £113.5 million.
Clive Whiley, Mothercare’s interim executive chairman, said: “We are very grateful for the support of our many stakeholders across our creditor base in supporting today’s CVA proposals.
“Their forbearance and support today is a crucial step forward to achieve the renewed and stable financial structure for the business that will drive an acceleration of Mothercare’s transformation.
“These measures provide a solid platform from which to reposition the group and begin to focus on growth, both in the UK and internationally.”
Toys “R” Us
After months of failed talks and deliberation, Toys R Us went into administration earlier this year and has now disappeared from the high street entirely.
The retailer continued to trade for months in-stores-only after revealing plunging profits and significant debt, however, it later failed to find a buyer and collapsed in the UK.
There might be a little hop hope for fans of Toys R Us, after a last minute decision saw the company pull out of an auction to sell off the name, website and even Geoffrey the Giraffe.
That means the shop’s new owners are now free to re-launch, using whatever assets remain. Sadly there are no plans to bring it back to the UK yet.
In fact, according to court papers filed in the US, they now think the best thing they can do is to keep going “under a newly established, independent US business”.
High street fashion chain New Look has confirmed plans to cut its UK store count over falling profits in a “difficult” trading environment.
The firm has secured a new restructuring plan that will see 60 stores axed and rents reduced in a further 393 branches.
The plans are under the terms of the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) – a procedure that enables businesses in debt to pay off debt while trading – in an effort to prevent it from closing entirely.
New Look’s closures, which account for nearly 10% of its 593-strong UK store estate, will lead to a maximum of 980 redundancies, although New Look will redeploy staff where possible.
The list includes its flagship Oxford Street store in London.
Alistair McGeorge, of New Look, said: “Given our challenged trading performance and over-rented UK store estate, we are having to take tough but necessary actions to reduce our fixed cost base and restore long-term profitability.”
Chimichanga Tex-Mex and Prezzo
Italian restaurant chain Prezzo is to shut 94 branches and axe 1,000 roles in a bid to save the business.
The company has launched a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to overhaul the struggling chain – along with sister brand Chimichanga.
The agreement will allow Prezzo to pay creditors off over a fixed period – however will also come with 94 closures and 1,000 job cuts.
Earlier this year it was revealed 12 of 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants are to close.
Some 450 job losses were expected in cities such as Bristol, Reading, and Harrogate.
It also emerged the celebrity chef was closing his Barbecoa steak restaurant in London’s Piccadilly .
Homebase it to shut 42 stores, placing about 1,500 jobs at risk.
A total of 16 Homebase stores have already been shut this year and the business has also axed 303 jobs at its head office in Milton Keynes.
The 43 stores will be closing during late 2018 and early 2019. Homebase currently has 250 UK stores and employs around 12,000 people.
Homebase was been sold by its Australian owner Wesfarmers to retail restructuring firm Hilco – which also ran HMV – for just £1.
Posh burger chain Byron is also struggling. The firm has announced a so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement to slash costs.
The chain has 67 restaurants, but bosses want to cut the rent on five of those by a third.
They want to slash the rent on another 20 for an initial six months “while the company engages with landlords to agree the basis of any continued trading from these premises.”
If landlords refuse longer term deals, then it could result in the closure of the 20.
“In recent times, certain parts of its portfolio have not met expectations, and with gathering economic headwinds starting to impact the sector more profoundly, the directors embarked upon a strategic review of the business as a means of safeguarding its long-term future,” said Will Wright, restructuring partner at KPMG and proposed ‘supervisor’ of the CVA.
Late last year Thomas Cook has announced plans to close 50 stores as part of its ongoing review of its retail network in the UK.
A spokesman for Thomas Cook said that 400 staff would be affected by the closures, although many employees were likely to be redeployed to other shops across its network.
Worse, more stores might go soon – with the travel agent conducting an ongoing review of its operations.
“We continually review our network of stores across the UK to make sure we’re offering customers the best of Thomas Cook, and it is clear that to succeed we have to operate as a truly omni-channel business,” said Kathryn Darbandi, Thomas Cook UK’s director of retail and customer experience.
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