Blacks back on track after landlords grudgingly agree to accept rescue deal

LANDLORDS yesterday accepted a financial rescue plan for Blacks Leisure, saving 4,300 jobs at the beleaguered high street retailer in the process.<br /><br />Although many of them are angry about accepting yet another company voluntary administration (CVA), an overwhelming 98 per cent of landlords voted to accept the conditions offered by Blacks to ensure its survival.<br /><br />They are that Blacks can walk away from leases at 89 of its outdoor fashion stores and vary rent schedules from quarterly to monthly at 315 remaining stores.<br /><br />Landlords, some of whom will kiss goodbye to leases of up to 12 years, have been offered six months rent and a compensation pot of &pound;7.25m to be shared among the 89 closed locations. They will wait for nearly nine months to be paid by Blacks.<br /><br />CVAs have become increasingly popular during the recession, with JJB and Focus DIY both relying on similar rescue plans to avoid administration. Manchester-based fashion mini-chain Flannels has appointed to Deloitte to attempt a CVA on its behalf.<br /><br />But landlords believe they are taking more pain than retailers in CVAs while company shareholders don&rsquo;t take any hit.<br /><br />British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace said creditor banks were driving the process of dropping loss-making stores.