List of shops that have collapsed into administration in 2020 as UK lockdown hits high street

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Many UK retailers are battling to survive as the country nears the end of its sixth week of lockdown.

Non-essential businesses including many well-known chains have been forced to close under the government’s new rules.

But large numbers of UK retailers were struggling even before lockdown began – and one insolvency expert believes more could disappear from the high street this year.

“Retail has been hit particularly hard,” said Rick Smith, managing director at insolvency and company rescue specialists Forbes Burton.

“Despite the Government’s care packages in the form of various loan schemes, it could be that we have to wave goodbye to a number of large brands or chains.

“Scale is important at a time like this, so those who have too many overheads not being serviced by a constant supply of footfall may find their physical presence in the high street might be too much to ride out.”

But which stores have already gone into administration in 2020?

Business Live takes a look at data gathered by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), which reveals the retailers that have called in administrators this year.

Oasis and Warehouse Group

Oasis sale in the Burlinginton Arcade

The Oasis and Warehouse Group runs nearly 90 outlets across the UK and hundreds of concessions in bigger stores.

The company went into administration in mid-April, putting a question mark over 2,000 jobs.

Around 200 members of staff were made redundant by administrators Deloitte and the rest were furloughed while attempts are made to find a buyer.

The company’s online trading will continue “in the short term” but it is not year clear what will happen to stores.

Debenhams

The Bristol branch of Debenhams

Debenhams confirmed it had formally entered administration at the start of April.

It is the second time the department store, which employs around 22,000 people, has gone into administration in the last 12 months.

The retailer had already announced the closure of 19 UK stores in January, but another four will not reopen after lockdown.

These include Southampton, Swindon, Kidderminster and Borehamwood.

Cath Kidston

A Cath Kidston store

The retro fashion chain will not reopen any of its shops when the lockdown ends after calling in administrators last month.

However, the owner of Cath Kidston has secured a deal to buy back the brand and its online operations, but this does not include bricks-and-mortar shops.

The closure of stores will lead to the loss of around 900 jobs, according to the Guardian.

Autonomy Clothing

Women’s fashion brand Autonomy went into administration in March and all 44 employees were made redundant, according to the CRR.

The retailer had three standalone stores in Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, Bideford in Devon, and Tillicoultry in Scotland, as well as more than 100 concessions across the UK.

All concessions and stores were closed temporarily in line with government guidance – and there are reportedly no plans to re-open them, according to Drapers.

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Lombok

The furniture company reportedly went into administration at the end of March.

The retailer, which operated online, has experienced two pre-pack administrations before – in 2009 and 2011.

All 43 staff were made redundant, according to the CRR.

BrightHouse

General view of a BrightHouse store in Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead

Rent-to-own high street retailer BrightHouse went into administration in March, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk.

The chain had announced plans to axe 30 stores in February in a bid to salvage the company.

Then all stores had to close because of the coronavirus lockdown. It now appears all 240 stores will remain closed and 2,400 employees will lose their jobs, according to Wales Online.

Administrators said the chain’s 200,000 customers will need to keep making payments, with administrators either running down the lending book or seeking to sell it on.

Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley at Southgate Bath

The fashion retailer went into administration in mid-March but US-based restructuring company Gordon Brothers bought the chain out of administration in April.

All the retailer’s high street stores are currently closed due to lockdown and 1,669 staff have been furloughed on the government’s job retention scheme.

It is still unclear what will happen to stores after restrictions end.

Soak.com

The online bathroom retailer collapsed at the end of February.

According to a report by The Telegraph, accountancy firm BDO was attempting to find a buyer after the firms’ turnover reportedly dropped from £70million in 2018 to £43million.

Corporate recovery specialist Leonard Curtis was later appointed as the administrator after Soak.com failed to find a buyer.

TJ Hughes’ outlet division

The company behind the outlet division of TJ Hughes collapsed in February, but was later bought out of administration in a rescue deal.

Four Lewis’s Home Retail outlet department stores were reportedly sold through a pre-pack sale to LHR Holding, saving more than 150 jobs.

However, according to administrators Springfields Advisory, it was not possible to sell several smaller outlets, reportedly leading to 80 redundancies and five store closures.

LHR Holding owns 18 TJ Hughes-branded department stores nationally, as well as tjhughes.co.uk, and they were not affected.

Hawkin’s Bazaar

Hawkin’s Bazaar

Gift and toy chain Hawkin’s Bazaar collapsed into administration in January, putting 177 jobs at risk.

The Norwich-based company suspended its website but reportedly said it would continue trading from its 20 stores until further notice, Wales Online reports.

The company drafted in Moorfields Advisory as administrators to seek a rescue deal after it suffered a “challenging Christmas period”.

Ashbury Furniture

The large furniture retailer in Kent went into administration in February – and closed its store after 15 years.

The shop, which sold mattresses and furniture for bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms, appointed Vincent John Green and Mark Newman of Crowe UK as administrators.

In a statement to Kent Online, the owners said: “Unfortunately, prolonged and continued M20 Junction 10a roadworks have caused a devastating downturn in trade in the last three years, combined with increased rent and business rates.

“The family business could not continue trading.”

Beales

Beales Department store in Worthing

The department store chain collapsed into administration in January after failing to find a last-minute buyer to rescue the 139-year-old business.

In March, the joint administrators confirmed all remaining outlets would cease trading. The retailer employed around 1,000 people.

The firm has stores in locations across the country, including in Southport and Wolverhampton.

Hearing Health and Mobility

The chain of hearing and mobility stores reportedly called in Grant Thornton as administrators in January.

Alistair Wardell and Richard Lewis were appointed to oversee the winding up of the company, according to Access and Mobility Professional.

The company sold hearing aids and medical and orthopaedic goods in specialised stores.

Houseology

The online designer furniture and homeware retailer went into administration in January with the loss of 23 jobs, reports CRR.

However, the company was snapped up by homeware brand Olivia’s – part of the Moot Group – for an undisclosed sum, according to Insider.co.uk.

Bureau, its office-oriented associate business, continues to trade and is not affected by Houseology’s administration.

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