Wednesday, 26 June 2019


So, CVAs. What are they? Oh, you probably know, dear reader(s). 'Not everyone will know, boss. Some of these people don't know nothing. I blame the parents. In my day -' All right, all right, Voice! Don't go on. Please!

CVAs are fatally wounding our High Streets, warns Jinksy.

Yeah. PR email. From Jinksy. The man who loves parcels. There's no harm in it. We all have our peccadilloes.

As Monsoon seeks to join the ranks of stores slashing rents through a company voluntary agreement, ParcelHero says CVAs are simply speeding up the demise of High Street shopping and will impact on pension and investment schemes.

Okay, okay. CVA stands for company voluntary agreement. Nice one! Let's hear more ...

Says ParcelHero's Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT: "Though Monsoon is largely looking to significantly reduce rents, several other retailers, from Debenhams and House of Fraser to Carpetright and Mothercare have used CVAs to plan the wholesale closure of many stores. Nearly 1,000 stores have closed under CVA agreements in the past two years alone. Just this month Philip Green's Arcadia Group has also agreed a CVA which includes the closure of 23 UK stores. The escalating closure of major High Street stores will simply drive shoppers away from town centres in even greater numbers."

Christ! There'll be no shops left soon. / But let's be honest, kook(s), everything will go. I mean, the world as we know it. A million years from now it's possible we'll all be living on other planets - well, not us, uh, others, like - but it's more likely that we'll be extinct and the earth will be covered in forests and jungles. 'And deserts, boss.' Yes, deserts, too. I should imagine there will be creatures, animals, spiders, whatever ... crawling around and that. 'Ugh!' But there will be no humans. 'Shame.' So, think about it: no websites, no shopping, no goods, no brands, and ... no parcels! NOTHING - !!! All gone! But I digress.

Explains David: "CVAs should be a last resort, not the standard retail business practice they are fast becoming. Yes, they give chains the chance to slash rents and ditch poor performing stores; but closures are becoming unsustainable. Debenhams is axing 22 stores and House of Fraser 31 stores under CVAs, while Carpetright has already used its CVA to ditch around 92 stores, Mothercare 50 and Homebase 92. Not only is the trust between landlords and retailers being destroyed; but many of our pensions are invested by their administrators into retail property. Institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies are large investors - both directly and indirectly - in commercial property markets."

Well, rents are too high, Jinksy!

Says David: "Property landlords have to choose between either accepting a huge cut in rental income, or losing the tenant altogether and having large properties standing empty. This diminishes the market for new retail developments. Many large pension schemes may typically have around 8% of their funds invested in commercial property developments and management; but with returns on those investments falling, pensions are being impacted and some schemes are seeking to reduce their exposure to the sector. And many of us may have our pension pot invested in a specialist property pension fund. As an example, the makeup of one well known fund includes 9.2% invested in shopping centres and around 9.5% in standard retail stores. And Britain's High Street banks have around 8% of their loans tied to commercial properties."

I'll tell you, dear reader(s), there's a bit of Chiswick high street that has a run of six or seven empty shops. And that's a rich area! If Chiswick is suffering there's no hope for anywhere else. And Brexit won't help, will it?

Oh, dear.

Jinksy's going to conclude now. 'Make it good, Jinksy, son!' Shut up, Voice! He doesn't need your encouragement. He's a professional. 'Of course he is.' Yes.

David concludes: "Retailers with a portfolio of stores should instead seek to make the most of these great assets, ensuring store events are an 'event' and adopting a multichannel approach to retail; with customers buying online and popping into their local stores to pick up items and return them. The increased footfall encouraged by BOPUS - Buy Online, Pick Up in Store - will result in increased sales for many of our, still much-loved, town centre stores."

Yeah, it all sounds a bit desperate though. / Listen! In our lifetimes we'll be back in caves, eating nettles and stuff. 'What?!' I can see it happening, man. Seriously. It won't take a million years. It might take five years. 'Oh. Does your brain hurt like a warehouse, boss?' No. Why do you ask that? 'Never mind.' Ha!