Baird Group, the license holder of brands Suit Direct and Ben Sherman, has become the latest British retailer to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposal as the industry continues to grapple with the impact of Covid-19.
The company has called in KPMG’s restructuring team to review options for the business.
Under the proposed CVA, 18 stores, one warehouse and one office will be closed, with 264 employees to lose their jobs across retail and distribution, mainly those working at Debenhams concessions. A further 29 stores will see a reduction and phased rebuild of base rent.
“The extraordinary circumstances that Baird has faced as a result of the global pandemic, coupled with the challenges presented to our business by the administration of Debenhams, prompted us to conduct a strategic review of options in order to safeguard the future of our business,” Baird Group CEO Mark Cotter said in a statement.
Baird Group eyes store closures
Cotter said the company has now created a three-year plan to refocus on its core retail outlets - Suit Direct and Ben Sherman - continue the growth of its wholesale operations, and further expand its online business.
“It is with deep regret that we will have to lose a number of our much-valued colleagues as we restructure our business,” Cotter said. “However, the board firmly believes that the CVA and the wider recovery plan will create a solid platform for a successful and sustainable business for many years to come for all our employees and stakeholders.”
It comes as a growing number of British fashion companies struggle with the impact lockdown had on sales. In recent months, Arcadia, Hotter Shoes and AllSaints have launched CVAs following months of store closures. Other companies such as Oasis and Warehouse, Cath Kidston, Laura Ashley and Debenhams have fallen into administration since the beginning of the pandemic.
Photo credit: Ben Sherman, Facebook