The media once again showed their ignorance of and distaste for pre-pack Administrations in the breaking news today (Thursday 11 June) of the deal done by FRP for Monsoon and Accessorize. It was termed a 'so-called pre-packaged sale', and articles seethed with barely disguised distrust of the restructuring intervention, describing the sale of the companies’ business and assets to Adena Brands, a company ultimately controlled by Peter Simon, who owned and founded Monsoon in 1973.
The deal, which will close 35 stores, make 545 staff redundant and seek rent cuts for remaining shops, is part of a restructuring led by Simon blamed on the COVID-19 crisis. As part of the deal Simon will inject up to £15 million into the business, but he will get a matching hankie and tie out of the process. Discussions with landlords will follow about the shortness of haircuts they will be expected to take, but with the high street being ravaged by mounting insolvencies it may be a rather one-sided negotiation. On the plus side, Adena said it hopes to save up to 100 stores and 2,300 jobs. Sources were unclear as to whether Accessorize will re-brand to lose the American spelling of a perfectly decent English word and accept that the reason 'Z' is worth 10 in Scrabble is because it should be only scarcely used.
You will hardly need reminding that Britain’s store-based retail sector, outside of food, has been severely hit by the lockdown to counter the pandemic, with already weak players such as Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Oasis, Warehouse and Cath Kidston all falling into Administration with the loss of thousands of jobs.