Retail Casualties of Covid?

The demise of the high street continues with the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia, here’s a run through of 20, 2020 casualties:

RetailerTypeDateAt riskOutcome
1Bon MarcheCut price clothing2/12/20225 stores
1500 Jobs
Rescue deal on the cards
2Arcadia –
Dorothy P’s
Miss Selfridge
30/11/2013,000 JobsLooking for buyers
19/11/2076 stores
347 jobs
Deals in the pipeline
4M&CoClothing – formally MackaysAug ’20lost 47 stores & 381 jobsBought out & restructured
5DW SportsSportswearAug ’201700 jobsClosing down
6Oliver SweeneyPrestige ShoesJuly ’207 storesStores all closing, online only
7Peter JonesGifts & HomewareJuly ’2070 staffLiquidation expected
8Norville GroupSpectaclesJuly ’20no redundanciesBought out
9Bensons BedsBedsJune ’20no redundanciesBought out
10HarveysFurnitureJune ’20105 stores
1575 jobs
11TM LewinShirts & TiesJune ’20600 jobsGoing online only
12Bertram booksBooksJune ’20450 jobsGone
13Go OutdoorsOutdoor sports equipmentJune ’202,400 jobsBought out
14Oak Furniture landFurnitureJune ’201,491 jobsBought out
15MonsoonFashionJune ’20197 storesBought out
16Victoria’s SecretLingerieJune ’20800 jobsSearching for buyer
17Oasis & WaterhouseClothingApril’20All!Closed indefinitely
18DebenhamsDepartment storeApril’2012,000 jobs?
19Cath KidstonDesigner accessoriesMar ’20900 jobsGone
20AutomonyFashionMar ’20
Also gone: Lombok, Brighthouse, Laura Ashley,, TJ Hughes, Hawkins Bazaar, Ahbury Furniture, Beales, Hearing, Health & Mobility, Houseology.

I hadn’t realised how many there were until I started this list and it is not exhaustive.

I do not think that all of these are purely victims of Covid 19, the decline of the high street had started well before Covid reared its ugly head but I do believe it has been the final nail in the coffin for many. An inability to adapt rapidly enough to the changing demands of society and outdated business structures have rendered many incapable of continuing without major upheaval from the very top or resulted in collapse. For those able to snap up the failing businesses at a snip and commit to total restructure, it has been a boom year and some high street names owe their continued presence to these turnaround artists who have had to be decisive, objective, smart and often brutal.

Online retail is stronger than ever, we just need to look at the expansion of Amazon for evidence of this. Again, this is not just due to the pandemic but the lockdown certainly accelerated the wheels of change.

At Cambridge Finance we have embraced and adapted, with a sudden jump to virtual classrooms and are developing new courses as the priorities of the industry move back towards environmental concerns which have been side-tracked this year. February will see our first climate risk and commercial property valuation course which focuses on this crucial topic and how it can be interwoven into strategy, risk management and decision making.

We will be offering a new eLearning course in the new year – Introduction to real estate life cycles. Keep your eye out for this interactive training solution.