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Gloucestershire Business News

Lockdown roll call makes sobering reading

While we await news later this week on plans for easing lockdown, it's already too late for a number of big name retailers.

Since lockdown began, a number of high street names have gone into administration, which will all be a real loss.

They are:

  • Carluccio's restaurant chain, with branches in Gloucester Quays and Cheltenham
  • BrightHouse rent-to-own retailer, with stores in Cheltenham and Gloucester
  • Cath Kidston, the quintessentially British fashion and homewares retailer, which has a store in Gloucester Quays
  • Oasis and Warehouse, women's fashion chain, which both have branches in Cheltenham, while Oasis has a concession at Debenhams in Gloucester

In addition:

  • Debenhams, which has a store in Gloucester, filed a a notice of intent ("NOI") to appoint an administrator, to help it resume trading on the high street once government restrictions are lifted
  • Clarks, which has two shops in Gloucester - in Eastgate Street and at Gloucester Quays - and branches in Cheltenham, Stroud, Cirencester and Ross-on-Wye, announced that it wouldn't reopen all of its stores following lockdown
  • Laura Ashley, the fashion and homewares retailer which has a store in Cirencester and a concession at Blooms in Quedgeley, was saved from administration at the last minute
  • Questions were raised over whether all John Lewis stores would reopen after the crisis, including Cheltenham's store, which only opened in October 2018.

The Prime Minister told pubs, clubs and restaurants to shut on 20th March, with non-essential shops added to the list just three days later. While some retailers have continued to trade online, social distancing rules in warehouse have affected their ability to process large quantities of orders. Nationally, sales of non-food items are down by 70 per cent, with £18 billion of spring and summer clothing building up in warehouses, as shoppers are forced to stay at home.

A number of other fashion retailers have been unable to pay for their stock, so we may not have seen the last of the retailers going into administration.

Punchline said: "These are the toughest times the high street has ever known. The retailers that have gone into administration or are still facing an uncertain future, aren't just names and brands, they are people's livelihoods and jobs, and the repercussions of this crisis will be felt for months or even years to come."

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