Struggling footwear specialist Clarks has drawn up plans to permanently close some of its stores after drafting in bankers to review its finances.
The family-owned retailer has decided to permanently close a small number of its 347 UK store estate, even after the coronavirus-enforced closure of non-essential stores comes to an end, due to its struggling financial position.
Sky News reported that Clarks has appointed Rothschild bank to explore financing options for the business, including possible access to new borrowing facilities, as the slowdown bought on by the ongoing coronavirus epidemic has hit the retailer.
The retailer has also furloughed thousands of store staff under the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.
A Clarks spokeswoman said the retailer would be closing less than 10 stores, the leases for which are set to expire and will not be renewed in May.
She said: “Clarks continually reviews all its stores to ensure that they are the right size and located in the right areas in order to provide the best possible service and offering to its customers. As part of this normal review, we have decided not to renew the leases on a small number of stores and as such, these will cease to trade and will not reopen following the coronavirus closures.
“We have a strong duty of care to our employees and are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on colleagues.
“Given this situation is ongoing, we are not able to comment further.”
Clarks had a tough 2019 and had been in the process of undergoing a turnaround process led by new chief executive Giorgio Presca in conjunction with management consultancy McKinsey before the pandemic struck.