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CVAs leave 850 empty shops

More than 850 stores totalling 6 million sq ft of retail space has become vacant as a result of company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) in the past 18 months, new data from commercial property agency Colliers International has found.

The analysis, which looked at store closures from January 2018 to 4 June 2019, found that 872 stores had closed their doors from separate CVAs. These included Mothercare, New Look, House of Fraser and The Original Factory Shop.

Not all of the space is vacant as some of the stores will have been re-let.

Recent CVAs from Debenhams and the forthcoming Arcadia CVA, the vote on which has been postponed to 12 June, could bring further vacant space. 

Commenting on the figures Paul Souber, co-head retail at Colliers International, said: “The current retail landscape is the most challenging landlords and retailers have had to face since the global financial crash of 2008. Rapidly changing consumer trends, huge business rate increases, lower consumer spending, higher wage costs and a structural change in shopping habits are all having a major impact.

“Over the past year there have been a raft of store closures, administrations and CVAs announced. Retailers are vying for consumers’ disposable income and time – meaning they have to be relevant and offer a point of difference.

“However, CVAs should not be used as a tool for financial engineering and a way to walk away from freely entered-into legal contracts. Their use must only be as a last resort for those business that have relevance, and all stakeholders need to be treated equally in the process.”

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