Aug 30, 2020
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Moss Bros mulls CVA to push through store closures, new rent deals - report

Aug 30, 2020

Moss Bros is considering closing some of its stores as the men’s formalwear specialist deals not only with the aftermath of the lockdown that hurt retailers generally, but the cancellation of so many of the events on which its business very specifically depends.

Moss Bros

The company’s customers buy (or hire) its suits for office-wear, formal events, weddings and more. But with working from home still the norm, many weddings still on hold and events like Royal Ascot not happening this year, its sales have been hit harder than some others in the fashion sector.

The Times reported that KPMG has been appointed to handle a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with the report suggesting it would seek both rent reductions and store closures. It has reportedly been talking to landlords about turnover-linked rent agreements but these talks are believed to have been unsuccessful so far.

The company hasn’t commented, but if true, it’s yet another development in what has been an eventful year for the firm. 

The retailer struck a deal to be acquired by the owner of Crew Clothing for £22 million in March this year, only to find that the lockdown a couple of weeks later made the buyer think twice and try to get out of the arrangement. Its attempt to renege on the deal was blocked by the City regulator, however.

That left it in control of a business with 125 stores and around 1,000 staff but with an uncertain future. Even when life returns to some sort of normality, analysts believe that retailers of formal clothing will be even more challenged than they were pre-pandemic.

Moss Bros isn’t the only formalwear specialist to find itself facing store closures. Also this year, shirtmaker TM Lewin was taken over with the new owner closing all 66 of its UK stores and making swingeing job cuts.

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