Just over an hour ago, I reported that the high street furniture and household goods chain, Habitat, went into administration. Well, here we are again!
Jane Norman, the popular and renowned women’s fashion retailer, has just suffered exactly the same fate. The company, which employs over 1,500 people, and has 90 stores and 80 concessions nationwide, has been burdened for a long time by depressed sales and heavy debts of just under £150m.
Again, this will have a negative impact on commercial property values, particularly in the retail sector. As more retailers fail, and their shops become empty, increased vacancy rates will give those willing to take on stores a greater choice which will cause rents to fall. This will not only affect empty shops but also shops which are occupied by tenants who are just about managing to pay their rents.
If I were asked by someone who owns a freehold shop whether or not they should sell, I would whole heartedly say ‘yes’. Furthermore, although owners will obviously seek to sell for the highest possible price, if they are able to sell, and repay their loans, then they will be doing very well indeed.
This is yet another high street retail failure to darken our days and rest assured, more are still to come!