Womenswear retailer Alexon has begun a push to close stores with a disposal list of 16 stores distributed to the property market.
The retailer - which owns brands Alexon, Ann Harvey, Minuet, Dash, Kaliko and Eastex - has been seeking to exit onerous leases as part of its turnaround plan.
Alexon chief executive Jane McNally said: “We’ve made no secret of the fact we’re looking to realign our property portfolio.
“We’re in discussions with landlords about altering that profile. That could mean exchanging a store that doesn’t fit for another that does, it could be renegotiating rents.”
A source close to the situation said the disposal list was “relatively limited” and that more stores, other than the 16 on the list, were being offered to other retailers. The source said: “The business is going through rapid transition and it is trying to figure out where it fits on the high street.”
One property source said Alexon is offering landlords “lump sums” to exit shops. The source said the retailer is open to discussions on most of its stores.
McNally denied the retailer, which has 85 standalone shops and about 20 that are sublet or lie empty, is trying to exit all its standalone stores.
She said: “We are a concession-heavy business but we’re totally committed to keeping our own bricks-and-mortar stores. We are closing stores but we are opening new ones too. The three-to-five-year plan is to increase stores.” McNally declined to say how many stores may shut because it is “still in the early stages of talks with the landlords”.
Alexon suffered a 14.3% dip in like-for-likes in the 23 weeks to January 9 and downgraded its profit forecasts for the year, blaming bad weather for the declining sales.
DTZ declined to comment.