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Letters to January 17, 2009

The round-up of Letters to the Editor.

Feel isolated? Join the club

Working as a freelancer can be quite isolating, so last year I became a member of the Fashion Business Club (FBC). FBC brings bright-minded fashion professionals together at an informal venue to listen to inspiring speakers, learn and do business together.

The next meeting is on January 29. Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council and owner of Jaeger and Allders, is the guest speaker.

For more information, visit www.fashionbusinessclub.net.

Rebekah Roy, fashion stylist,  London

View M&M’s plan for change

In the months of seasonal retail angst when people hotfoot it to the high street to hunt for bargains and discounts, it is a welcome change to see some positive light in the industry.

The retailer responsible is Marks & Spencer. People often criticise M&S, but it demonstrates some really positive retail objectives for the future that all retailers should be aware of. This is personified at http://plana.marksandspencer.com.

Plan A is M&S’s five-year, 100-point eco plan to tackle some of the biggest social and environmental challenges facing the retail industry. It aims to combat climate change, reduce waste, safeguard natural resources, trade ethically and build a healthier nation by 2012.

So instead of going online to view the financial news pages or social networking sites in your lunch break, visit this interactive and beautifully designed site for some New Year cheer – you can even play a cookery game where you have to avoid wasting any ingredients.

Remember, there is no plan B in today’s climate.

Karl McKeever, brand director, Visual Thinking, Leicester

Wider impact of insolvencies

You don’t need to be insolvent  to feel the effects of insolvency. The anticipated wave of retail insolvencies will have a widespread impact on many entities beyond those insolvent retailers. 

Neighbouring retailers may experience a drop in trade. Landlords, guarantors and former tenants can face significant and unexpected liabilities. In some cases, the insolvency of a retailer leads the liability for the rent back to the original tenant. Some retailers are also landlords and their insolvency will affect their tenants. Issues that can arise for tenants include the security of their rent deposits and sums held by the landlord for future works.

However, some sub-tenants may try to take advantage of their landlord’s insolvency and bring their own lease to an end by obtaining a disclaimer of the landlord’s lease.

All parties need to be aware of these risks.

Thekla Fellas, partner, Davies Arnold Cooper LLP, London

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