Victoria’s Secret crisis: 800 jobs at risk after UK arm tumbles into administration

Victoria’s Secret crisis: 800 jobs at risk after UK arm tumbles into administration

The retailer, which has 25 stores across the UK, is one of the many high street stores that is facing the financial impact of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown and has reportedly placed 785 employees on the government’s furlough scheme.

Insolvency firm Deloitte has been hired to seek a potential buyer.

According to the Press Association, Rob Harding, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: “This is yet another blow to the UK high street and a further example of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the entire retail industry.

“The effect of the lockdowns, combined with broader challenges facing bricks and mortar retailers, has resulted in a funding requirement for this business, resulting in today’s administration.”

However, unlike other retailers facing administration due to the coronavirus pandemic, the lingerie brand has been struggling since before the deadly outbreak.

Victoria's Secret goes into administration

Victoria’s Secret goes into administration (Image: Getty)

The UK high street is facing a financial crash

The UK high street is facing a financial crash due to COVID-19 (Image: Getty)

Mr Harding added: “We will now work with the existing management team and broader stakeholders to assess all options available for the future of the business.

“As administrators, we’d like to thank them and all of the employees for their support, at what we appreciate is a difficult time.”

Deloitte are hoping for a “light touch” process meaning the business will be allowed to keep trading, while putting off its debts for a while.

This would allow the insolvency firm to sell off assets or reduce costs by renegotiating rents.

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800 jobs are at risk at Victoria's Secret

800 jobs are at risk at Victoria’s Secret (Image: Getty)

The online store, which is not owned by Victoria’s Secret UK, will continue to operate as usual.

Victoria’s Secret is not the only big high street retailer to face the wrath of COVID-19 with Debenhams, Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley all being hit by the impact of the virus.

The UK is beginning the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions from June 15 with Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing shops can begin to reopen from this date, as long as social distancing measures are maintained.

During a press conference last month, Mr Johnson said: “Shops now have the time to implement this guidance before they reopen.

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UK stages of easing lockdown

UK stages of easing lockdown (Image: Express)

“This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take.

“I want people to be confident that they can shop safely provided they follow the social distancing rules for all premises.”

The Prime Minister also urged people to go to the shops to help the economy bounce back.

He said: “I’m certainly not going to discourage them from spending at all.

Victoria's Secret will continue to run online

Victoria’s Secret will continue to run online (Image: Getty)

“I think that it’s early days but we are very much hoping there will be a bounce back over the next few months.

“We will set out our formal assessment of the five tests that we set for adjusting the lockdown later this week as part of the three-weekly review we are legally required to undertake by Thursday.

“But because of the progress we are making I can, with confidence, put the British people on notice of the changes we intend to introduce as we move to step two.”

As of Monday (June 1), car showrooms and outdoor markets were allowed to reopen, provided they were ‘COVID secure’.

Boris Johnson announced easing lockdown measures

Boris Johnson announced easing lockdown measures (Image: Getty)

Mr Johnson said: “We know that the transmission of the virus is lower outdoors and that it is easier to follow COVID secure guidelines in open spaces.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, welcomed the government’s announcement but urged “safety is the fundamental concern”.

She said: “We welcome the announcement of the Government’s road map for reopening a broader range of shops next month, which provides much-needed clarity on the route ahead.

“Safety is the fundamental concern for all retailers and they have been working hard to implement the necessary measures to operate safely over the past weeks.

“Now that we know which shops can open and when, retailers can begin communicating their plans with their workforces and customers.

“The industry stands ready to play its part in getting the economy moving again.”

Published at Fri, 05 Jun 2020 14:19:00 +0000