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Superdry and Monsoon “most at risk” to collapse due to Covid-19

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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The UK high street was already feeling the strain before the coronavirus pandemic, but in recent days household names including Cath Kidston and Debenhams have already expressed that they are in trouble, and a new study has revealed that retailers Superdry and Monsoon Accessorize are “not likely” to survive due to Covid-19.

The study by AskTraders takes a comprehensive look at the impact coronavirus is having on the high street through an analysis of more than 20 of the UK's businesses that it classes are “most at risk”, taking into account everything from historic problems to a lack of consumer confidence, underinvestment and the inability to adapt digitally, and predicting the future for these businesses and their likelihood of survival.

The two high-street brands most at risk would be Superdry and Monsoon Accessorize, explains AskTraders, as analysis shows that as online sales have struggled for both retailers it could mean that the nationwide shut down due to Covid-19 serves as a final blow for these two businesses.

AskTraders senior market analyst Nigel Frith, explained that Superdry is at risk as it has issued “countless” profit warnings and its shares are down 11.69 percent and they are seeking additional financing to secure recovery. In addition, Frith states that the retailer’s online sales have slumped, and unlikely to make up for the loss of high street customers.

On Superdry, Frith added: “From seeing intense promotional campaigns from competitors throughout the Christmas season and a reduction in the inventory stock online and in-store Superdry are just not seen as fashion-forward by customers anymore. The company predicts losses for 2020 with online sales not able to offset the closure of stores due to Coronavirus. Their future looks doubtful.”

Also in jeopardy is Monsoon Accessorize, which Frith states were already “feeling the pinch of the high street” with slow growth in online sales and the inability to keep up with demand.

Frith added: “Prior to the pandemic, the company was struggling in a consistent critical condition, despite securing a CVA. Monsoon Accessorize has also recently deferred all rent payments for their brick and mortar stores whilst they remain ‘temporarily’ closed, as the Covid-19 outbreak weighs heavier and heavier on high street fashion.

"Unless co-owner Mr Simon injects more cash, around an additional 18 million pounds, then the future looks bleak for Monsoon Accessorize, unless they are able to sell.”

It isn’t just individual shops that are feeling the decline in trade from Covid-19, AskTraders study also reveals that shopping centre giant Intu is also “not likely” to survive the crisis as it was already in 4.5 billion pounds of debt prior to the outbreak of coronavirus and are now feeling this weight even more.

Frith explained: “Having only received 29 percent of rent this month after the government imposed that rents could be deferred without eviction for three months, the company has asked for support. With the virus having a direct effect on footfall and even the future of shops renting from Intu the company is in a difficult position. This reduction in rents could be the final straw for Intu, seeing them on the edge of collapse.”

Covid 19: Next, Marks and Spencer and Ted Baker at risk

Other retailers that AskTraders predicts will be hit the hardest by the coronavirus measures includes Next, Marks and Spencer, and Ted Baker, all of which are only classed as “likely” to survive the crisis.

Next was already coming up against a reduction in consumer spending and online competition before the lockdown, and while 2020 was going to see the company invest and develop in its website and distribution whilst also increasing its product offering, Covid-19 has impeded that. The retailer has not only shut down stores but also made the decision to temporarily close its website and operations in order to protect their employees.

“Prior to this Next’s sales had been up 14 percent online, but as they seek a buyer for Next HQ in order to raise the cash to protect their stores could this decision to protect this staff have a positive effect on their own consumer confidence in the future?,” added Frith. “They have a 50/50 chance of survival.”

For Marks and Spencer, AskTraders says it may be a “British icon” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t at risk of collapse, with the analysis suggesting only a “likely” chance of survival.

Commenting on Marks and Spencer, Frith said: “As they temporarily close some of their stores, reduce investment and delay staff pay rises Marks and Spencer could survive the impact Covid-19 has had on trading. But as their share price drops down to 50 percent so far this year, could Coronavirus be the final nail in M&S’s coffin?”

While for Ted Baker, it is another 50/50 chance of survival, as after previously overestimating the value of their inventory stock, the retailer issued four profit warnings throughout 2019, and its shares slip, however, the sale from their head office to repay existing debt may give them some breathing space.

“With sharp decline following the announcement of the sale and leaseback of their head office for 72 million pound net alongside the closure of 384 or their 416 stories due to Coronavirus. So as the business unravels we are unsure if Ted Baker will endure the Corona Crisis,” explains Frith.

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Images: FashionUnited