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Ann Summers wins new rent deals but CVA still a possibility

Lauretta Roberts
23 August 2019

Ann Summers has negotiated new rent deals on most of its 100 stores but chief executive Jacqueline Gold has said a CVA may yet be on the cards where it has not been able to agree new terms.

In a column in Retail Week, Gold praised retail landlords for being willing to enter into negotiations and for striking new deals, but said the business may need to look at a CVA for the five branches where new deals have not been reached. Advisers from Deloitte have been appointed to look at options.

"The vast majority of [retail landlords] live in the real world and understand that circumstances have changed," Gold said in a frank column in the retail publication.

Gold added that the company was not seeking zero rents like others in the market, which is likely to be a reference to Sports Direct which negotiated zero rent deals on some House of Fraser stores following its pre-pack acquisition of the department store chain last year. It is also said to be seeking zero rents on some of the stores of its latest acquisition Jack Wills.

"[...] we want to agree on terms that allow us to continue our partnerships with these landlords for many years to come.

“We would be mad though, not to consider all options – including a CVA of that 5% of stores – because we cannot allow the future success of our business to be jeopardised by the handful of landlords who won’t come to the table," she said.

In its latest available accounts filed at Companies House for the year ended 30 June 2018, Ann Summers posted sales up marginally at £110m with a pre-tax loss of £3.1m. This compared to a pre-tax profit of £2.5m in the prior year.

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