Worst per­form­ing Of­fice Out­lets will close

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Front Page - By Ben Woods

STATIONERY chain Of­fice Out­let has stepped up its bid for sur­vival with plans to shut a hand­ful of its worst per­form­ing stores.

The move threat­ens 50 jobs, but the re­tailer claims it needs to shrink fur­ther if it is to ride out the rapid changes sweep­ing through the high street.

It is plan­ning to re­struc­ture the business us­ing a com­pany vol­un­tary ar­range­ment (CVA), a con­tro­ver­sial life­line that helps busi­nesses cut costs. Of­fice Out­let has around 90 stores em­ploy­ing more than 1,000 staff. Bosses have spent two years over­haul­ing the business. How­ever, its fi­nances have come un­der strain from the bit­ing con­di­tions for tra­di­tional re­tail­ers.

Chris Yates, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, said it was tak­ing “nec­es­sary ac­tions” to drive down costs and “re­store longterm prof­itabil­ity”.

HMV owner Hilco Cap­i­tal snapped up Sta­ples’ UK stores from the US business for £1 in 2016. It re­branded them as Of­fice Out­let and sold the operation to a man­age­ment buy­out spear­headed by Mr Yates.

Ac­coun­tancy gi­ant Deloitte has been ap­pointed to ad­vise Of­fice Out­let on the CVA, which will face a vote by land­lords and cred­i­tors next month. The com­pany is aim­ing to close the stores to­wards the end of this year. Daniel But­ters of Deloitte said no stores will close im­me­di­ately and em­ploy­ees will con­tinue to be paid on time.

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