Toys R Us UK faces collapse with loss of all 3,200 jobs
Pension Protection Fund’s refusal to back restructuring unless retailer pays £9m into fund could push chain into administration
Tuesday 19 December 2017 07.38 GMT
First published on Monday 18 December 2017 18.47 GMT
Toys R Us UK is facing potential collapse this week with the loss of 3,200 jobs as it struggles to win the support of the state-backed Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for a planned restructure.
The PPF, the industry-funded, state-backed safety net, demanded that the troubled retailer pump about £9m into the ailing Toys R Us UK pension fund.
This is in order to gain the PPF’s support for the retailer’s planned company voluntary arrangement (CVA) procedure, which involves the closure of at least 26 loss-making stores. That deal would lead to the loss of up to 800 jobs.
The insolvency procedure automatically pushes Toys R Us’s pension fund into assessment by the PPF, giving it a key vote at the meeting and the potential to block the process.
If the CVA does not go ahead, sources close to the company said it was likely to fall into administration with the potential closure of all 84 permanent stores and about 20 more pop-ups, putting all 3,200 UK staff at risk of redundancy.
Homebase owners may close up to 40 stores
39 minutes ago
Up to 40 Homebase stores could be closed by its Australian owner, putting up to 2,000 jobs at risk.
Wesfarmers paid £340m for the DIY chain in early 2016 and has been rebranding the stores under the Bunnings name.
But after a "disappointing" performance the Australian firm has put Homebase under review and expects it to lose £97m in the first half of 2018.
UK retailers are struggling in the face of rising inflation and fragile consumer confidence.
Several store chains have announced job cuts recently, including supermarket giants Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.
Homebase's rival, B&Q, last week said it was cutting 200 jobs at its head office in Hampshire as part of a cost-cutting drive.
Homebase bought by Australia's Wesfarmers
B&Q to cut 200 head office jobs
Wesfarmers said it had written down the value of its Homebase chain by £454m as a result of its poor trading.
Its shares fell by up to 5% in trading on the Australian stock market. Kingfisher, the owner of Homebase's UK rival, B&Q, saw its shares gain 2% on the hope that fewer Homebase/Bunnings stores would leave the field clearer for it.
"The Homebase acquisition has been below our expectations which is obviously disappointing," Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said.
"In light of this, a review of Bunnings UK has commenced to identify the actions required to improve shareholder returns," he added.
Homebase has 250 stores across the UK and employs 12,000 people.
Wesfarmers will announce the result of its review in June, so staff will have to wait until then to find out which stores are to close.
However, the Australian firm said it had been encouraged by the performance of stores that had begun trading under the Bunnings name.
Debenhams axing 320 jobs in major cost-cutting drive
08:41, 8 FEB 2018Updated08:47, 8 FEB 2018
Debenhams has announced that 320 jobs are to be axed as it pushes through a major cost-cutting drive.
In a statement, the retailer said: "As part of the implementation of the Debenhams Redesigned strategy a review of our store structure has been undertaken.
"The review has identified significant cost savings by reducing the complexity of management roles in stores as well as processes to optimise and standardise ways of working.
"The effect is that potentially 320 positions are at risk of redundancy - approximately 25% of store management roles.
"We are currently consulting with individuals affected and will seek redeployment opportunities where possible.
Maplin collapses into administration with 2,500 jobs at risk just hours after Toys R Us falls
We'll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.
By Gavin Allen Associate Editor
10:40, 28 FEB 2018
Electricals retailer Maplin has collapsed into administration, putting 2,500 jobs at risk.
A statement from Maplin CEO Graham Harris said: “I can confirm this morning that it has not been possible to secure a solvent sale of the business and as a result we now have no alternative but to enter into an administration process. During this process Maplin will continue to trade and remains open for business.
"The business has worked hard over recent months to mitigate a combination of impacts from sterling devaluation post Brexit , a weak consumer environment and the withdrawal of credit insurance. This necessitated an intensive search for new capital that in current market conditions has proved impossible to raise. These macro factors have been the principal challenge not the Maplin brand or its market differentiation.
"We believe passionately that Maplin has a place on the high street, and that our trust, credibility and expertise meets a customer need that is not supported elsewhere.
"We will now work tirelessly alongside Zelf Hussain, Toby Underwood and Ian Green, from PWC, who have been appointed as the as Joint Administrators of Maplin Electronics Limited, to achieve the best possible outcome for all of our colleagues and stakeholders.”
We'll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.
For the latest news and breaking news visit Mirror.co.uk/news.
Prezzo to close 100 restaurants amid high street turmoil
Hundreds of jobs are at risk at the casual dining chain as part of a plan to close 100 restaurants, Sky News learns.
Wednesday 28 February 2018
By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
The restaurant chain Prezzo plans to close up to one-third of its 300 outlets across Britain, putting hundreds of jobs at risk as it joins a growing list of high street employers locked in a desperate battle to restructure their finances.
Sky News has learnt that Prezzo, which is owned by the private equity firm TPG Capital, is preparing to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in the coming days in order to push through the radical overhaul.
The closure plan will affect roughly 100 Prezzo-owned outlets and involve the complete closure of its Tex-Mex chain Chimichanga, according to people close to the company.
The last time I went to Prezzo's was two years ago when me Mrs and Little Miss D1 visited Legoland and Windsor castle and have to say the grub was really good.
Chimi Changers forget it.
Been to the one in Hornchurch a couple of times with Little Miss D1 and its been bleedin' awful.
Not surprised they're going down the pan.
Toys R Us store closures due 'in coming days' - administrators
"Heavy discounts" have been introduced at the doomed retailer, with administrators warning some branches may close imminently.
Friday 02 March 2018
A £15m VAT bill helped push Toys R Us over the edge
By James Sillars, Business Reporter
Toys R Us customers are being told they may only have days to secure big discounts in the wake of the chain's UK collapse this week.
Administrators from Moorfields Advisory say they have commenced a "nationwide closing down sales programme" across the entire Toys R Us and Babies R Us store estate.
All 105 stores are continuing to trade despite its surrender to deep financial problems on Wednesday that left 3,000 jobs at risk.
Electrical retailer Maplin has also entered administration, and efforts to find buyers for both companies are continuing.
Moorfields said discounts of up to 25% were now available on all products at Toys R Us and stock levels were high.
"Some stores in the portfolio may be subject to closure in the coming days, and so customers are encouraged to take advantage of the heavy discounting as soon as possible," the administrator said.
It added that gift cards and vouchers would continue to be honoured while stores continue to trade, and confirmed that deposits paid by customers under Take Time To Pay agreements for larger purchases would also be honoured.
However, it said that was conditional on outstanding balances being paid and goods being collected by 11 March.
Joint administrator Simon Thomas said: "We've introduced heavy discounts across the entire Toys R Us store portfolio today.
BREAKING NEWS: New Look to shut 60 stores and axe nearly 1,000 jobs in latest blow to the High Street
New Look is hoping to slash rent payments on almost 400 of its remaining shops
The company claimed Brexit and pressure from online retailers hit the business
The retailer believes if landlords accept rent reductions the firm will survive
By Darren Boyle for MailOnline
Published: 13:21, 7 March 2018 | Updated: 14:12, 7 March 2018
Up to 980 jobs are being axed at retailer New Look under plans to shut 60 stores and slash rent on nearly 400 shops as part of a rescue deal, the company said.
The company has asked creditors for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) which will allow it to continue trading while cutting costs such as high rent bills.
It is the latest high street chain to face difficulties with more than 5,000 retail jobs under threat with the demise of Toys R Us UK and Maplin
High street retailer New Look has announced plans to close 60 stores and slash 1,000 jobs
It said the closures would lead to redundancies, with up to 980 jobs out of its workforce of 15,300 under threat, although it said it would look to redeploy staff where possible.
The hunt for Toys R Us' missing millions: Investigators probe a £580m loan moved to a tax haven just months before the store went bust
Pensions officials previously probed the transaction but it remains a mystery
There will now be a full investigation of Toys R Us’s financial affairs
It is currently beginning to close all its 105 stores and make 3,000 staff jobless
By Hannah Uttley City Reporter For The Daily Mail
Published: 21:19, 16 March 2018 | Updated: 00:42, 17 March 2018
Investigators are in pursuit of more than £580million that was funnelled out of Toys R Us’s UK business and into a tax haven on the British Virgin Islands.
Accountants and hedge funds are understood to be on the trail of the cash – a loan that was handed over by the British arm of the toy retailer just months before it went bust.
Administrator Moorfields Corporate Recovery is preparing for a full investigation of Toys R Us’s financial affairs as it begins to close all its 105 stores and make 3,000 staff jobless.
Investigators are in pursuit of more than £580million that was funnelled out of Toys R Us’s UK business and into a tax haven on the British Virgin Islands
It said the investigation will include determining why Toys R Us funnelled the £584.5million loan into an offshore subsidiary and then waived repayments.
Although pensions officials have previously asked company chiefs about the transaction, it remains a mystery.
Documents seen by the Mail reveal US hedge fund Blue Mountain Capital is chasing the money held in the British Virgin Islands as a way of making up for losses it suffered after the collapse of the American arm of Toys R Us.
Carpetright to CLOSE poorly performing stores as troubled firm moves to cut "unsustainable" rental costs
The retailer is "exploring" a company voluntary arrangement - which would allow it to close loss-making stores and secure deep discounts on rental costs
By Sophie Evans
08:08, 21 MAR 2018 Updated08:54, 21 MAR 2018
Carpetright plans to close poorly performing stores, the troubled firm has said.
The retailer is "burdened" with an oversized property estate, comprising too many stores on "unsustainable" rents, according to its chief executive.
It is "currently exploring" a company voluntary arrangement, which would allow it to close loss-making stores and secure deep discounts on rental costs.
If the CVA goes ahead, Carpetright said it would tap investors for between £40 million and £60 million through an equity issue to fund plans to reboot the business and drive down debt.
In a string of updates, the group also revealed that it had agreed a £12.5 million unsecured loan from major shareholder Meditor to help with "short-term working capital requirements".
It marked another dark day for Britain's beleaguered high street, with Mothercare announcing that it had reached an agreement with lenders to defer the testing of its financial covenants as it eyes extra sources of financing.
Carpetright chief executive Wilf Walsh took a swipe at firm's previous management over their "aggressive" store expansion strategy.
He said: "I am pleased that we have secured this additional support from one of our major shareholders as we continue to explore the feasibility of a CVA and a conditional equity issue. These further cash resources will enable us to make the necessary decisions free from short-term funding pressure."