// 264 redundancies & 18 store closures on the horizon as Baird Group launches CVA proposal
// It blamed the Covid-19 lockdown, the Debenhams administration & ongoing challenges in retail
// Baird Group is a licensee of Ben Sherman & Suit Direct, with 47 stores & 87 concessions
One of the licensees of Ben Sherman has confirmed that it has launched a CVA proposal which entails 18 store closures and 264 job cuts.
The Baird Group – which is also a licensee of Suit Direct – has been working with KPMG’s Restructuring practice to review all options available to address the challenges presented by the pandemic.
The firm’s board has since formulated a recovery plan, contingent on the approval of the CVA, which it said provided Baird Group “with a sustainable platform for its key business units as the world recovers from the Covid-19 crisis”.
The CVA divides the company’s store portfolio into two groups.
A total of 29 stores will see a reduction and phased rebuild of base rent, while a further 18 stores, one warehouse and one office will close immediately upon the CVA becoming effective once approved.
KPMG confirmed that “an unfortunate and unavoidable outcome” of this process will be the loss of 264 staff who work in retail and distribution, mainly servicing the Debenhams business.
The Baird Group cited the need for a CVA due to the dramatic impact on trade caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, the administration of Debenhams and ongoing challenges in the retail markets.
A spokesperson from KPMG confirmed that the proposed 18 store closures in the CVA pertain to the Baird Group’s standalone stores, not concessions.
Prior to lockdown, it operated 47 standalone stores and 87 concessions.
“The extraordinary circumstances that Baird has faced as a result of the global pandemic, coupled with the challenges presented to our business by the administration of Debenhams, prompted us to conduct a strategic review of options in order to safeguard the future of our business,” The Baird Group chief executive Mark Cotter said.
“As a result of this review, we have formulated a three year plan to refocus on our core retail outlets (SuitDirect and Ben Sherman); the continued growth of our wholesale business; and further expansion of our on-line business.
“It is with deep regret that we will have to lose a number of our much-valued colleagues as we restructure our business.
“However, the board firmly believes that the CVA and the wider recovery plan will create a solid platform for a successful and sustainable business for many years to come for all our employees and stakeholders.”
Baird Group’s CVA proposal needs approval from at least 75 per cent of creditors, and a vote is slated to take place this month.
Baird Group is owned by Arafa Holding, an Egyptian garment manufacturer and retailer.