This week: 2020 starts with UK unemployment at a 45-year low and Hotel Chocolat boss calling for rent cuts to stop 'subsidising' CVAs.
Hotel Chocolat boss calling for rent cuts to stop 'subsidising' CVAs
2019 saw a deluge of high street retailers seeking CVAs in order to reduce rents. Large retailers that successfully used CVAs to reduce rents include Debenhams, Arcadia & New Look. Now Hotel Chocolat co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell reportedly said he is sick of being "penalised for being successful" and has called for "fairness" from landlords. In renegotiations with landlords over rents, he has called for clauses that say if a near-neighbour store goes through a CVA process and enjoys a cut in rent, Hotel Chocolat should too.
The retailer operates 127 stores across the UK and has managed to hold up well in tough high street conditions, reporting a £14.1 million pre-tax profit in the last year which was up 11% on the previous year. Mr Thirlwell said, "We didn't think it was right that this was happening - businesses shouldn't be penalised for being successful. We are growing and want to continue opening in new locations but in a long-term sustainable, careful and measured way." Hotel Chocolat said it will be focusing its attentions on new stores in train stations, airports and other sites that operate a turnover rents system. This is where an agreed percentage of a store's takings is handed over in lieu of rent.
2020 starts with the UK unemployment rate at a 45-year low
At the end of December, The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have Employment figures for August to October 2019. The figures reveal that the employment rate is now at the highest since records began in 1971. The rate now stands at 76.2%, 0.4 percentage points higher than a year earlier but little changed on the previous quarter; despite just reaching a new record high, the employment rate has been broadly flat over the last few quarters.
The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.8%, 0.3 percentage points lower than a year earlier but largely unchanged on the previous quarter.
Read the Full ONS report here:Labour market overview, UK: December 2019
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