Footwear retailer Clarks has drawn up plans for the permanent closure of some of its stores and drafted in bankers to review its finances.
It said that the leases for fewer than ten of its UK stores will not be renewed when they expire in May. The store locations have not yet been revealed.
Clarks says the decision is not related to the coronavirus pandemic, but is part of “business as usual” store reviews, and these stores would have closed anyway. The retailer has around 347 stores across the UK.
Meanwhile, the retailer has appointed investment bank Rothschild to help explore financing options for the business, including accessing new borrowing facilities. 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%.
A Clarks spokeswoman told Drapers: “Clarks continually reviews all its stores to ensure that they are the right size and located in the right areas in order to provide the best possible service and offering to its customers. As part of this normal review, we have decided not to renew the leases on a small number of stores and as such, these will cease to trade and will not reopen following the coronavirus closures.
“We have a strong duty of care to our employees and are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on colleagues. Given this situation is ongoing, we are not able to comment further.”