At NTI we know three landlords who have tenants at Poundstretcher, Le Pain Quotidien, Travis Perkins and All Saints (the High Street fashion chain). They are due to return home from vacation on the Moon this evening at 9.00pm and will call for an update on 'business'. What on Earth do we tell them? After retailers were at the pointed end of a savaging last week the bites kept on landing in the past seven days, the latest being the mauling by Lion Capital the private equity firm who own Jimmy Choo and Cadbury-Schweppes ... but also All Saints with 260 stores across 20 countries.
The chain run by Peter Wood and chaired by Lion Group boss Lyndon Lea, recorded total sales of £331m in 2018, roughly half of which was generated by its business outside the UK. All Saints is understood to have seen record sales last year and has reported rapidly expanding digital operations which account for around a quarter of overall sales. Nonetheless, the chain launched a CVA on Tuesday 16 June that seeks rent reductions across its UK and US operations. The girl band All Saints which had what now seem like portentous hits in 1997, 'Never Ever' and 'War of Nerves' (they are the same, right?) will be taking it to their landlords whose nerves must already be jangling without the new war they will be required to engage in. With Alvarez & Marsal at the helm of the CVA will All Saints give in on their requests for haircuts and new terms of business? Never Ever.
Sources close to the CVA process said All Saints planned to close only a handful of its stores under the CVA, with the focus of the restructuring plan being to extract substantial financial concessions from landlords. This is a kind of 'good news' / 'bad news' deal for some landlords who already expect to receive barely a quarter of the rent they are owed on quarter-day later this month, prompting an intensification of tensions between real estate-owners and commercial tenants.
When asked to comment the girls said, "I know where it's at". More bad news, presumably for much-bitten landlords.