I trust you all had a great Christmas and enjoy the passing of another year!
Happy New Year !!
Lets raise a glass to 2009 !!!
TV Links are back in business, this time operating outside the UK
UK Government set up online bullying help website
Irish Blog Awards nominations are open
Australian thieves run off with $100,000 worth of nuts
Man Made global warming is dis-proved
US Bank robbers leave address at the scene of the crime
America’s buzz-words of 2008 – FAIL !
Nominations are now being taken for this years Irish Blog awards.
What else can I say ?
Another day, another large retailer gone to the wall. This time its high end clothing retailer USC with 58 Uk stores including two in Northern Ireland.
This time however there is a glimmer of hope as the current owners have worked out a deal with Administrators PKF to buy back 43 of the stores saving over 1000 jobs.
USC was purchased in 2004 by West Coast Capital, a venture capitalist run by one of the UK richest men, Sir Tom Hunter for around STG£45 Million. It is believed that Dundonald Holdings LTD the new company taking over the chain is also ran by Sir Tom Hunter.
The remaining stores will be ran in the interim by the Administrators until a buyer can be found, my thinking on these store is that if the current management buy back does not want them, then know-one will, after all they [the management] know the business better than most !
The only hope for these remaining stores is that the leases will be sold on to a larger retail but with more and more retailers hitting the bricks and going to the wall, once much valued lease holdings are now not to valuable anymore.
I will compile a list later of ten companies which I feel will run into the major problems in 2009.
Like the collapse of Woolworths and EUK, the recession has added to the failure of the business but it is not the main reason for its failure.
Adams like Woolworths have been in trouble for years trying to keep up with tough competition from Next, Gap, M&S, Tesco and Sainsburys.
As a father I asked my wife this morning, when was the last time you shopped in Adams? Never she replied – If I need baby clothes I pick them up in Tesco whilst doing the weekly shop or wait until the Next Retail sale where I can bulk buy items for the year. Adams is to expensive she continued, why pay £10 for an outfit that may only be worn twice when I can get the same quality elsewhere for £3.
This is the 3rd time is as many years that Adams has gone to the wall, being re-financed in 2005 and bailed out of Administration by a Northern Irish business man in 2007.
The chances of Adams survival this time are very slim, If Woolworths and Zavvi are having problems finding a buyer, Adams has no chance as it is not a ready to go business but rather a new buyer will have to overhaul the entire outdated brand and supply system and with over 2000 jobs hanging in the balance, Retail is definatly changing.
I wrote on the 11th December here how I thought that Zavvi would be the next big retailer to fall, I followed this up on 12th December by writing about how EUK (Woolworths) had lined up Ernst and Young as possible administrators for Zavvi if they (Woolworths) could not get their £107 Million back.
I also wrote again here on 16th December how Virgin Group were purchasing stock for Zavvi group and that I thought that Branson would not let the retailer fall.
Today on Christmas Eve, it pains me to write that Zavvi has indeed fallen into Administration and 3400 jobs are now at risk if Ernst and Young cannot either find a buyer or find away to steer the chain on good waters again.
Zavvi Ireland, a subsidiary company of Zavvi UK are not currently subject to Administration as they operate in a different legal area.
The groups management and partners, Simon Douglas and Steve Peckham have commented
“We have done all that is possible to keep the business trading, but the problems encountered with EUK, and particularly its recent failure, have been too much for the business to cope with.”
Virgin Group and Richard Branson are yet to comment. Its a shame that another succesful British business has fallen in such a way and 3400 staff are now wondering over Christmas what is happening with jobs etc.
For me, the real interest will be what move Branson plays next, although he sold the firm in 2006 he still has quite a bit of cash and assets tied up in Zavvi, not to mention the retail space within Zavvi that Virgin Media rents, there only retai presence.