Not a great end to the week in yet another of the long-drawn out retail sector decimation.
Debenhams has don't he usual trick of blaming the weather for its very poor Christmas when in the next breath its CEO admits that Clothing is a massive problem for it, but maybe all the other Chinese tat that it stocks will save it.
House of Fraser also has called in the insolvency specialists. This I can relate to with some anecdata - there is a House of Fraser opposite where I work in the City. I can honestly say I can't afford a single product they sell - it is very high end tat indeed with prices to match. The store always seems busy but you rarely see people walking out with actuals bags. It really does not surprise me to see them struggling, who the hell wants £250 shoes or £200 perfume on a regular basis?
Pre-pack administrations and CVA's - where companies reduce their rents on in one swipe to try to survive are common practice and no doubt what House of Fraser will be aiming for in this case.
Overall though, the internet continues to destroy retail piece by piece. Still the Governments of all stripes happily let the internet retailers work out of cheap warehouses whilst high street rates and rents are simply beyond imagination - they have been declining a while now even in London but from stratospheric levels. It is beyond me as to why Governments cannot do anything to preserve the high streets and culture of the Country - its not nothing to do with Capitalism in the sense of change must be allowed to happen as technology alters the commercial landscape, yet the tax system is simply being abused by the new entrants to the market. This is causing the harm to city centres which will be hard to recover from, I am amazed that so many coffee shops can currently exist and that demand is there. The collapse in tax revenues from retail also hits local jobs and local government incomes disproportionately - the fact it is ignored by Government continues to amaze me - but it has been this way for over 15 years now!