Guide to insolvency in the retail sector
Produced in partnership with Carolyn Jones
Guide to insolvency in the retail sector

The following Restructuring & Insolvency practice note produced in partnership with Carolyn Jones provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Guide to insolvency in the retail sector
  • Insolvency in the retail sector—overview
  • Insolvency in the retail sector—key issues
  • Structural issues
  • The op co/prop co structure
  • Franchised stores
  • Concessions
  • Dealing with retail premises
  • Employees
  • Stock management issues
  • More...

Guide to insolvency in the retail sector

This Practice Note provides a brief summary of the retail landscape and highlights some of the key legal and practical issues facing office-holders appointed over a retail business. It also identifies some of the main stakeholders and explores the positions they may adopt, as well as considering some of the most relevant case law applicable to the retail environment.

In this Practice Note the assumption is made that any meaningful retail insolvency will occur through administration. A liquidation will essentially mean a 'close-down' with limited or no trading activity. Some of the points below may be of relevance nonetheless to a liquidation and should be considered in deliberating the appropriate strategy when distress arises.

For more detailed information on the use of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in a retail scenario, see Practice Note: Retail sector insolvency—use of CVAs.

Insolvency in the retail sector—overview

Retail insolvency has been a fruitful area for insolvency practitioners over the last 20 years. Many of the insolvency headlines pertain to this sector. Many well-known names have traded through years of administration and/or CVA, sometimes in sequential processes, and a significant number of household names have disappeared altogether. Examples of retail insolvencies include Maplin, Toys R Us, BHS, Woolworths, HMV, Phones 4U, Comet, Blockbuster, Poundworld, Laura Ashley, Cath Kidson, Debenhams and DW Sports, to name but a

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