Retail round-up on April 12, 2016: Austin Reed could undergo financial restructuring and March retail sales suffer due to bad weather and early Easter.
Austin Reed reportedly lines up adviser for financial restructuring
Troubled upmarket fashion chain Austin Reed is believed to be seeking help from an adviser to carry out a financial restructuring just 12 months after 31 store closures, according to The Times.
The menswear retailer is holding talks with AlixPartners on proposals to help its high street revival.
Options could include seeking fresh equity from a new investor, carrying out another company voluntary arrangement (CVA), or potentially putting the business up for sale.
Retail sales dip in March on distorted Easter timing
Like-for-like retail sales dropped 0.7% year-on-year last month, recording its biggest fall since last August, and fuelling signs of a slowdown in the country's economy.
Sales in March were hard hit by bad weather and an early Easter, according to The British Retail Consortium (BRC).
In total terms, sales remained unchanged from last year, the trade group said.
Clothing demand suffered due to an unsettled weather, while food sales were hit because many supermarkets were closed on Easter Sunday.
BRC’s chief executive Helen Dickinson described the March figures as relatively disappointing and said retailers were also feeling longer-standing pressures.
“This slowdown can’t be viewed in isolation; retail is an industry undergoing significant structural change as the investment in the digital offer continues apace while, from a consumer perspective, more disposable income is being spent on leisure and entertainment,” she said.