History has a habit of repeating itself, as those landlords that hold the fate of JJB Sports in their hands will be only too aware. It was only two years ago that the sportswear retailer came cap-in-hand to them, pleading for their support for a CVA, which the company claimed would secure its long-term future.

History has a habit of repeating itself, as those landlords that hold the fate of JJB Sports in their hands will be only too aware. It was only two years ago that the sportswear retailer came cap-in-hand to them, pleading for their support for a CVA, which the company claimed would secure its long-term future.

The simple fact that JJB is back again with the same plea shows it didn’t work. What’s changed in the meantime?

It may be under new management, but if anything JJB is weaker now than it was then, and while no one wants to see jobs lost and stores close, many will question if the business has a place on today’s high street.

The most common complaint about CVAs is that they aren’t fair on landlords, which is true, especially when other creditors aren’t asked to take a hit. But at least

they have a vote on it. The silent victims in this are other retailers that run their businesses prudently, pay their rent on time and don’t try to wriggle out of deals they freely entered into. A lot of retailers would love to hand back their unprofitable stores, but can’t.

So not only does the CVA give no guarantee that it will succeed in helping JJB back to health - indeed, given that every retailer that has been through a CVA is still struggling to a greater or lesser extent, the odds would seem to be against it - but it would give the company an unfair competitive advantage against its rivals.

If landlords back the CVA, they should expect some tough questions from their other retail tenants.

A platform for growth

When Scott Weavers-Wright was placed seventh in Retail Week’s etail Powerlist in November, a lot of people said “Who?”, but anyone who has followed our technology and online coverage over recent years will know that away from the limelight, he and his family have built Kiddicare into a pioneering online retailer at the cutting edge of innovation.

The £70m Morrisons has paid for Kiddicare is a small price to pay to propel itself from nowhere to a seat in the front row when it comes to online, and the biggest benefit is likely to come not from Kiddicare itself, but from the platform it has acquired that can be rolled out to other non-food markets. It’s a smart move that shows

Dalton Philips isn’t just experimenting with radical ideas, now he’s implementing them.

tim.danaher@retail-week.com