More shop chains winding up

THE number of retail companies which plunged into administration in the second quarter of this year increased by eight per cent compared with same period last year, according to figures from Deloitte.

A total of 43 were affected, with household names like Oddbins and Focus being hit by the downturn in consumer spending.

Moben, Habitat and Jane Norman were also among the casualties as retailers struggled to make ends meet and keep up their rent payments.

Expensive overheads have taken their toll while in contrast online retailers like clothing firm Asos have gone from strength to strength.

Lee Manning, restructuring partner at Deloitte said: “The retail sector is going through a significant period of change with many companies buckling under the pressure of weakened consumer confidence and a sluggish economy.

“Whilst the overall increase in the number of retail failures this quarter is relatively small, we have seen a significant number of household names falling into administration, including Oddbins, Moben, Dolphin, Focus DIY, Habitat and Jane Norman.

“This signifies that the severity of retail distress is far greater than the absolute figures suggest.”

Manning warned that consumer spending was likely to slide even further in the rest of the year, piling the pressure on retailers. Oddbins, Habitat and Jane Norman saw some of their branches bought but others like Focus folded completely.

Home Retail Group, owner of Argos and Homebase, bought the Habitat brand and three central London stores for £24.5m in cash. However, the 30 other outlets were not part of the deal.