With John Lewis Partnership’s warning of the “increasingly uncertain market” ringing in retailers’ ears, today the industry was served another note of caution.

Embattled fashion retailer Blue Inc has filed a company voluntary agreement as it seeks to slash its rental bill and shutter 33 of its 127 stores.

But the news was far from a bolt from the blue. In truth, the storm clouds have been gathering over the business for some time.

Last year it put its subsidiary, A Levy, into administration, shedding 76 stores and 500 jobs, before buying back the profitable parts of the business.

Yet that move has ultimately not proved drastic enough to transform Blue Inc’s fortunes and creditors will now vote on the proposed CVA on March 22.

Even if that bid to streamline its store estate and cut its rental bill is successful, there will be plenty more work to be done, predominantly around product and pricing.

Blue Inc may have to weather the storm for a while longer yet.

Quote of the day

“We got keener to get rid of people who are no good and recruited single-mindedly on personality” – John Timpson, winner of the AlixPartners Outstanding Contribution to Retail Award.

Today in numbers


The square footage of B&Q’s first small format high street store, which opened on London’s Holloway Road today.

Tomorrow’s agenda

With no financial updates over the weekend, catch up on last night’s Retail Week Awards by reading all about our winners.

Luke Tugby, head of content