The equity markets are still open for business if retailers and investors are willing to collaborate, according to industry observers.

Retailers and private equity investors at today’s World Retail Congress said credit is flowing again and called for “transparency” in all supply chain relationships.

All Saints chief executive Stephen Craig said that the former Baugur and Icelandic bank-backed retailer was close to refinancing with British banks after seeking new funding following the Icelandic banking collapse.

“I sense a change of mood in the British banks,” he said. “In the last three or four weeks they are open for business.”

Bain Capital Europe managing director Felipe Merry Del Val said: “Gradually we are seeing credit flowing again but it is much more selective.” He added that investors will favour “quality assets”.

Del Val added that there are options for deals with different structures if banks and retailers are prepared to negotiate and collaborate.

Financo chief executive Bill Sussman said: “The asset-based market remains robust. The equity market is ok, there is cash out there.”

Craig called for “transparency” in the supply chain to enable businesses with strong balance sheets looking for new working capital to keep trading.
He added that if he failed to secure new financing - a process which is taking “far too long” - he would rely on strong relationships with suppliers to keep trading. “Do we really need credit insurance if there is transparency?” he said.

New Look non-executive chairman Phil Wrigley urged people ” to talk and listen better”, especially when an over-stored retail environment has led to retail downfalls.

He said: “We have all been guilty of greed and excess but it is now about having a strategic intent and I think developers recognise that.”