Daily Mail

ANN SUM­MERS CRACKS WHIP OVER SHOP RENTS

- Business · Ann Summers · British Property Federation

ANN Sum­mers’s boss has threat­ened its land­lords with store clo­sures in a bid to force them to slash rents.

The lin­gerie chain said it would re­sort to a con­tro­ver­sial in­sol­vency pro­ce­dure known as a com­pany vol­un­tary ar­range­ment (CVA) to cut its costs if land­lords did not agree to re­duced rents based on turnover.

The own­ing fam­ily said it had al­ready in­jected ‘large sums’ of cash ‘to get Ann Sum­mers back on an even foot­ing’. The firm’s losses spi­ralled from £3m to £16m in 2018-19, but bosses said its bottom line will im­prove this year thanks to in­vest­ment, and more de­mand for lin­gerie dur­ing lock­down.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Jac­que­line Gold ( pic­tured) said: ‘Ultimately, no re­tailer can af­ford to run stores un­prof­itably. It’s a shame we have to threaten a CVA in order to do this, but this is no idle threat.’

The threat to launch a CVA will cause anger as the in­sol­vency pro­ce­dure is meant to be re­served for com­pa­nies in se­ri­ous distress. This week the Bri­tish Prop­erty Fed­er­a­tion (BPF) crit­i­cised the way CVAs are be­ing ‘weaponised’ by re­tail­ers to slash costs.

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