The Blacks Leisure proposed company voluntary arrangement has provoked mixed responses from the outdoor retailer’s landlords.
Some claim the retailer has not communicated with them adequately. One property source, who represents several Blacks landlords, said letters sent last month by Blacks’ property agent Jones Lang LaSalle on behalf of the retailer asking for better terms were “threatening”.
In the letter, seen by Retail Week, it said if landlords were “amenable” to the proposed concessions it would “retain the stores rather than putting them forward for closure”.
However, British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace praised Blacks for engaging directly with its landlords.
Blacks chief executive Neil Gillis said he would have been “criticised” if he had not approached landlords to negotiate better terms, rather than just closing stores.
One source questioned Blacks for not conducting face-to-face meetings. But Gillis said that he had personally spoken to a number of landlords, adding that “everyone has been supportive”.
The retailer wants to exit 89 closed stores. If the CVA is successful - it must be approved by 75% of its creditors - the retailer will trade from 315 stores.
Jones Land LaSalle head of retail Guy Grainger said the “vast majority of landlords are realistic and appreciate” that the CVA is “vital” for the future of the retailer.
Bank of Scotland has agreed to an extension of the standstill agreement to December 23, subject to approval of the CVA proposal.