Jigsaw seeks to slash rent bills - report

Jan 9, 2020
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Mid-market womenswear retailer Jigsaw has become the latest major name to asked for rent reductions from its landlords with the company reportedly seeking cuts of 30%, as well as the opportunity to delay rent payments.


The company, which has around 80 standalone sites and a number of concessions in upscale department stores, hasn't officially released this information, but it was reported by specialist trade publication Property Week. The trade paper also said that Jigsaw has appointed Colliers International to advise it about its property portfolio and that negotiations regarding a number of its locations are at an advanced stage.

It's a further sign of the general weakness in the UK fashion retail sector with a raft of retailers, both large and small, seeking to cut their rent bills. Rent and business rates have been among the most onerous burdens on the retail sector as a whole with footfall in decline and physical shops therefore becoming much less profitable.

Jigsaw’s parent company made a £9.5 million operating loss in the last period for which accounts are available (the year to September 2018), much wider than the £0.5 million deficit in 2017, as turnover fell slightly. Those results were only released in June 2019 so we could have quite a few months to wait until we find out its more up-to-date figures.

Clearly, Jigsaw has not been immune to the problems on the high street and less than two years ago it was forced to seek a rescue deal. That saw the co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, David Ross, pumping £20 million into the company in exchange for a majority stake.

But it seems that this change didn't lead to the stability that the company needed and in under two years, the firm has lost two of its CEOs. Long-standing boss Peter Ruis left in March 2018 and his successor Chris Stephenson lasted less than six months with a departure last January. His exit left the company without a chief executive and he still hasn't been replaced.

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