The last two weeks have seen yet another flurry of announcements regarding big high street names including Thomas Cook, Argos, Karen Millen and Coast.
The last two weeks have seen yet another flurry of announcements regarding big high street names. On 23 September, Thomas Cook ceased trading and around 600 stores simultaneously shut their doors. Two days later, Sainsbury’s announced it would shut another 60-70 Argos stores to cut costs, as it relocates 80 further stores into its supermarkets. Monday saw the confirmation from administrators that all Karen Millen and Coast stores and concessions have now closed.
The wider trend is a difficult picture for high streets. Recent analysis suggested that twice as many chain retailer stores were closed than were opened in the first six months of 2019. The trend of store closures stretches back to 2018 and beyond, as store vacancies on high streets hit a 4-year high this summer.
Much ink has been spilled about the various pressures ranging from rising labour costs, falling revenues, rising business rates (or the modest relief available), online retail, changing consumer habits and tastes, and the shift towards experience-driven shopping.
In and among all these challenges, we are seeing opportunities. Whether landlord or tenant, future-proofing your interests can start through looking closely at your portfolio and your lease provisions. We have seen all manner of open and frank discussions start anywhere from competitor exclusions and turnover rent provisions, to break clauses, sub-lets, shared occupation or lease surrenders.
What is clear is that it is more important than ever to understand where your leases leave you, and what your options (or opportunities!) may be in the current market. No one wins when stores are left empty.
National law firm Browne Jacobson has advised long standing retail client, Wilko on the sale and leaseback of its Nottinghamshire distribution centre in Worksop to logistics specialist DHL for £48m.
Law firm Browne Jacobson is pleased to announce that Suzanne Harlow has been appointed Non-Executive Director of its Retail, Consumer & Logistics sector.
Earlier in the year a number of fashion retailers, boldly announced the introduction of a charging fee for returning any product purchased via their online store. Yet, despite this commercial, and perhaps somewhat controversial decision, at least one major fashion giant that adopted this approach has recorded ‘historic highs’ in its September profits. Browne Jacobson partner, Cat Driscoll who heads up the firm’s commercial team in Manchester and is also head of its Fashion & Beauty sector discusses whether this change has put the average consumer off and whether the days of free returns are long gone.
This article is the second in a series to help firms take a practical approach to complying with the ‘cross-cutting rules’ within the new ‘Consumer Duty’ (CD) framework. The article summarises what it seems the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is seeking to achieve from the applicable rules (section 2 below) and potential complications arising from legal considerations (section 3).
The fashion industry has a mountain to climb when it comes to sustainability. More than 8% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the apparel and footwear industries, and approaching three-fifths of all clothing ends up in incinerators or landfill within a year of being made.
Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).
Since the beginning of the pandemic, landlords and tenants have experienced significant limitations in the way rent arrears could be pursued. We first saw the moratorium on the recovery of Covid related arrears, and more recently we’ve experienced the implementation of the Covid arrears arbitration scheme.
The Chancellor’s recent mini-budget provided a significant announcement for business as it was confirmed that the off-payroll working rules (known as “IR35”) put in place for public and private sector businesses from 2017 and 2021 will be scrapped from April 2023.
Browne Jacobson has bolstered its commercial practice in the UK with the appointment of commercial contracts and international trade specialist, Emma Roake, into its City-based London team.
Recent reports of flat roofs constructed using RAAC planks collapsing without warning prompted the SCOSS alert.
The Court of Appeal overturned the “fire and re-hire” injunction, finding that there was nothing in the express contractual provisions preventing Tesco from giving the notice to terminate employment in the usual way.
As has been widely reported this week, some 3,000 UK workers are taking part in a six month trial to assess the viability of a four-day working week without any reduction in their normal pay.
Amongst the measures being introduced are new rules on online reviews, price reduction promotions, enhanced rights for free digital consumers, GDPR-style fines and information requirements on online markets.
In anticipation of the adoption of the Building Safety Bill, our specialist compliance and regulatory team will give an overview of the measures proposed in the Bill.
From 6 April 2022, right to work checks on all migrant or settled prospective employees must be online and checks on British or Irish nationals will be manual (free) or digital (charged for).
The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals England and Wales and Scotland have issued a new road map for 2022-23, providing an update on the resourcing challenges faced by employment tribunals and the steps put in place to address these.
The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 was finally passed yesterday (24 March) and comes into force immediately.
Browne Jacobson has broadened its national construction and engineering offering with the appointment of construction partner Zoe Stollard into its Birmingham office.
The Government appears set to announce plans on ‘living with Covid to restore freedom’. With the success of the retail and hospitality sector key to recovery, what protections will be on offer to tenants to deal with Covid-19 rent arrears?
In Nissan v Passi, the High Court recently considered the issue of an employee retaining confidential documents belonging to his former employer in the context of the employer’s application for an injunction seeking the return of such documents from the employee.
The levelling up white paper sets out a set of 12 priority ‘missions’ to be pursued by national and local government in the years to come. With measures covering regeneration, communities, connectivity, education, R&D, employment, and health.
The High Court has granted an injunction against Tesco preventing the dismissal and re-engagement (‘fire and rehire’) of employees in an attempt to remove a contractual entitlement to enhanced payment terms.
Browne Jacobson’s corporate finance lawyers have advised omnichannel prestige beauty retailer Sephora on its acquisition of Feelunique.
Our corporate finance team have advised the Myers Family Office, on its purchase of Vian Marketing, the holding company for leading stand-up paddleboard business, Tushingham Sails which is best known in the market for its Red Paddle Co brand.
All of the ‘big four’ supermarkets have seen equal pay claims submitted. The majority of these cases involve workers arguing that they have not been paid equally compared to distribution centres of the business.
Following on from our recent article on the release of the updated Code of Practice for dealing with commercial rent arrears that have accrued throughout the pandemic, we continue to highlight what the overall principles seek to ensure - fairness and proportionality for both landlords and tenants across each step of the arbitration process.
In Stuart Delivery Ltd v Augustine, the Court of Appeal was asked to consider the principles governing when the ability to appoint a substitute negated the obligation to personally perform work.
No retail and logistics specialist will have been surprised by the news that ecommerce businesses, responding to high customer demand during the pandemic, have contributed to a jump in warehouse lettings, or that one of the ecommerce disrupters within the retail sector has been rapid grocery delivery services.
Time is running out for the world to take action to slow the impact of climate change – the clear and unanimous message delivered from the world’s most prominent experts in the field in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recently published report on climate change.
The government has now published new regulations to replace the winding up restrictions mentioned above from 1 October 2021. The key point of interest from a landlord and tenant perspective is that these new regulations will prevent a landlord from presenting a winding up petition to recover rent until 31 March 2022 where the sums are unpaid by the tenant because of the financial effect of the pandemic.
Last week, the government published a policy statement to deal with rent arrears accrued during the pandemic for those businesses affected by the pandemic.
A court will not alter an unambiguous contractual term merely because it is unduly favourable to one party, imprudent or unreasonable or because it provides for one party to pay too high a price for something. However, a court can correct the literal meaning of a contractual provision by construction if it is clear both that a mistake has been made and what the provision was intended to say.
Break rights have proved a fertile source of litigation over the last few years. More often than not, tenants have found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions. However, a Court of Appeal decision yesterday has bucked that trend.