UK High Streets

Fund reassures over Arcadia rents

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Arcadia's creditors backed a restructuring of the Topshop to Burton group earlier this week. That sparked one of the investment trusts with exposure to Sir Philip Green's retail empire to try to reassure investors about the impact on its financial position on Friday.

NewRiver REIT (real estate investment trust) said that its rental exposure is limited to £363,000, which represents 0.3% of its gross income, and that there will be no reduction to this rental income as a result of the restructurings.

Creditors, including landlords, backed a series of Company Voluntary Arrangements which will trigger the closure of 48 stores and rent reductions on others.

NewRiver says it specialises in buying, managing and developing retail and leisure properties throughout the UK. Its shares, part of the FTSE 250, are up 1% at 191p but were trading above 230p a month ago.

'You can't get it all right'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

A bit more from that interview with Sir Philip Green by the BBC's Simon Jack.

Sir Philip told the BBC that the industry was changing.

"The market place as we all know has fundamentally changed forever, whether we haven't changed quickly enough or we had too many shops, or whatever, I think it's a combination of a lot of things.

"The answer is, bottom line, you can't get it all right. For a long time the company made a lot money, it's literally only the last couple of years it fell off".

Focus on Topshop

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

people walking past topshop
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Now that Arcadia's creditors have backed the restructuring plan for the retail empire, what should Sir Philip Green and his team do to turn the business around?

Kirsty McGregor, Deputy Editor at Drapers, says Sir Philip Green needs to look at the stores, his on-line presence and possibly sell off some brands.

They need to look at "how can they refresh those stores... get people shopping there again. They need to seriously invest in their brand's websites," she said, as online only retailers such as Boohoo were overtaking them.

"Their focus will need to be on what they do with Topshop, their strongest brand," she said, and they will need to have a look at which brands they can sell off.

Smiggle warning

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The Financial Times is reporting that Smiggle, the Australian stationery brand that has expanded rapidly in the UK, has warned that its parent group could withdraw financial support from its British subsidiary if economic conditions worsen.

The UK unit’s annual accounts filed at Companies House stated that its Australia-listed parent, Premier Investments, had “reserved its right” to review the financial support on which its British offshoot depends, the FT said.

The Melbourne-based company declined to comment to the FT.

The FT said Smiggle’s UK unit said in its accounts that it was reliant on financial support from Premier Investments - as it had done in previous years.

However, the statement for the year to end-July 2018 added a line stating that “the parent entity has reserved its right to review the position of this financial support” and that it had “undertaken to inform the company in the event that . . . it would or might no longer be prepared to continue to provide such financial support”.

It had a letter from its parent pledging financial support for the next year, and its balance sheet appeared robust with an even split of debt and equity funding.

Sir Philip says media are jealous of his wealth

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

BBC business editor Simon Jack also asked Sir Philip Green about his taking money out of the business.

Using expletives on Thursday, Sir Philip blamed the media for a negative portrayal of him.

"Because you lot make them all ... jealous, that's why - it's quite basic. These people writing all this... couldn’t spell fifty quid.

"They all get jealous... the fact that someone can actually write out a cheque and writes one out, people don’t like it".

Sir Philip 'wanted to avoid a car crash'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Philip Green
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After creditors backed his rescue plan for his Arcadia retail empire, Sir Philip Green has been speaking to BBC business editor Simon Jack.

Sir Philip said he had put more money into the business.

"You don’t want to end up having a car crash do you? You don’t want to be in business and then see an ugly car crash and all the people out of work and you could have assisted - how ever you got there – you could have assisted to rescue the business. Why would you want to see that?".

Arcadia landlords want Green to deliver

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Tina Green, owner of Arcadia with her husband, Arcadia chairman Sir Philip Green
Tina Green, owner of Arcadia with her husband, Arcadia chairman Sir Philip Green

Why did the landlords back the Arcadia deal?

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that landlords are "quite often caught between a rock and hard place".

Landlords will want Sir Philip Green to "deliver on his promise that [he's] going to get on with the job. They will want to see and believe that there is a fair and credible turnaround plan for the business... and that the management and the ownership is committed to it".

Intu - the shopping centre owner - was the landlord which voted against the deal and Ms Leech said she understood concerns about different terms being offered to different tenants. She added, though, that retailers, did not want to be next to "dark shops".

"No body wants to be trading next to an empty shop," she said.