In a rare departure NTI have had to call in our 38-strong newsteam on double time this morning (Saturday 5 August), which is a bummer, as we had hoped to make a payment from our growing energy bill this month.
However, needs must; there is so much activity in the insolvency and restructuring market today. You almost certainly caught the 'not-real-news-news' yesterday that Wilko - what do we politely call them? A 'high street homewares chain?' - have issued a notice to appoint Administrators, and the clock is now running. The business, which has 400 branches and employs about 12,000 people, now has 10 days to secure a rescue deal. It is reported this morning that the beleagured group has not paid its business rates bills for the past three months. Mind you, neither has Billy's Dad on his Tehran-based betting shop ... but he will probably lose at least one hand over that. Wilko, look on the bright side.
If Wilko does collapse into Administration (spoiler alert - it will), it would be the biggest retailer to do so since McColl’s, the convenience stores chain, which was bought by Morrisons, the supermarkets group, last year.
Meanwhile Clintons (who we thought had gone months ago) is reported to be closing a fifth of its stores as they stare hard into the face of a Restructuring Plan, under which they will try and persuade creditors to swap debt for equity. Hmmm - that sounds like a good deal ...
Clintons has closed 158 stores and had even explored a merger with Paperchase (which then fell into Administration, only to be 'rescued' by Tesco - remember?). Clintons is now looking to shut 38 of its 179 stores and cut 1,000 jobs since its last dip in the 'insolvency intervention' pool. Truth is, if the company does not secure the Plan it will probably have no option but to go for formal insolvency proceedings - which should satisfy the 'worse off' test in Part 26A. Beware landlords ... and maybe even HMRC? Certainly Clintons' board is looking to write off payments due to local authorities worth £3.3 million.
At the other end of the retail-scale, Mulberry revealed a £14.8 million pound loss from the closure of its Bond Street store in London, due to tourism tax and people realising that to put tartan on absolutely everything isn't as classy as they thought. Burberry reported a near 40 per cent profit slump in July after its costs jumped and VAT-free shopping for tourists disappeared.
PS We coudn't think of an appropriate photo alongside which to place all of this rubbish news. So, we thought, perhaps, Matt Hancock?