Footwear retailer Clarks has called in three of the Big Four auditing firms to work on a potential restructuring, as it attempts to weather the coronavirus outbreak.
Clarks’ family shareholders have drafted in KPMG to advise them, while Deloitte has been hired by the company’s management team.
PwC has been called in to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the business.
A Clarks spokeswoman said: “Like all businesses, Clarks continues to face the fast-changing challenges of operating in today’s environment of rising economic and political uncertainty. Our leadership team is currently reviewing all options to protect our business, our people and the Clarks brand for future long-term growth. It is our policy not to comment on specific commercial appointments.”
Clarks announced last month that it had drawn up plans for the permanent closure of some of its stores and drafted in bankers to review its finances. The retailer said the decision was not related to the coronavirus pandemic, but was part of “business as usual” store reviews and they would have closed anyway. It has around 347 stores across the UK.
At the time, Clarks also appointed investment bank Rothschild to help explore financing options, including accessing new borrowing facilities.
That followed the appointment of management consultancy McKinsey & Co to help review the business in November 2019.
Clarks reported a loss after tax of £82.9m for the 52 weeks to 2 February 2019 – more than double its £31.3m loss in 2017/18 – while underlying operating profit plummeted by 36%.
Deloitte, PwC and KPMG declined to comment.