Ann Summers has won better property terms from landlords on most of its 100 branches but the refusal of property owners to be more flexible means a CVA may be considered for those where terms have not been struck.

Writing exclusively for Retail Week, Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold, said “there has been a fundamental shift in the retail property market” and she, like other retail leaders, has been seeking lower rent as shopping habits change and amid tough trading conditions.

Gold said she had been “really heartened by most of the conversations we’ve had with our landlords. The vast majority of them live in the real world and understand that circumstances have changed.”

That means the future of about 95 shops is secure. However, the remainder, around five branches, may have to be put through a CVA. Adviser Deloitte has been brought in to help.

Gold wrote: “I continue to hope that the remaining landlords will come to the table and agree to sensible new terms that mean our stores can continue to trade.

“We are certainly not asking for zero-rent deals like some retailers have – we want to agree on terms that allow us to continue our partnerships with these landlords for many years to come.

“The irony is that if those talks fail, we’d have to consider our alternatives. Let me be clear: we are 100% focused on finalising consensual agreements. If, however, we have to take stronger action, the landlords of the 95%-plus of our stores where we have good terms, including all those that have supported us with new improved deals, would not be affected.

“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.”

Ann Summers wins rent deals but CVA on cards for remainder