Hotter, the British comfort footwear brand and retailer, has revealed plans for a restructure via a CVA that will dramatically cut its store estate to just 15 sites.
The Lancashire brand, which began making slippers in 1959 and moved into comfort footwear later in the early 1990s, lists around 77 stores on its website, many of which remain closed after the COVID-19 lockdown, and dozens of wholesale stockists.
Its owner Electra Private Equity issued a brief statement today to say that the management of the company had been in talks with landlords to reduce its store estate to a level that enabled the business to remain viable. However it said that “individual discussions have been unsuccessful in obtaining the required level of agreement to allow Hotter to continue on a viable basis and as such Hotter will be entering into a CVA process in the coming days”.
In parallel with the store closures the company has entered into consultation with staff at its Skelmersdale headquarters that may lead to “a number” of job losses.
Neil Johnson, Electra Private Equity PLC Chairman, commented: “Before the pandemic hit, Hotter, under new Chief Executive Ian Watson, was making good progress to accelerate the implementation of a digitisation strategy to return it to its direct marketing routes.
“The need for these actions has been intensified by the consequences of the past 3 months of lockdown. If successful, the proposed CVA will result in fewer stores, which will secure the future of a smaller, sustainable business and will save over 350 jobs. I would like to thank all our colleagues at Hotter for their continued understanding at this difficult time.”