The Australian owner of stationery retailer Smiggle has laid the groundwork to increase the pressure on landlords in upcoming lease negotiations by aligning store fit-out costs with break clauses.
Smiggle’s parent company Premier Investments has put plans in place that would allow the retailer to either drastically reduce rents or walk away from 117 of its 134 UK stores, as it nervously eyes a “very distressed and uncertain macroeconomic environment”.
In a bid to maximise leverage on landlords, Premier has taken a A$25.9m (£14.1m) hit on its balance sheet this year as a means of bringing the fit-out costs for the majority of its UK stores in line with the five-year lease breaks it negotiated in its leases when it first came into the UK market in February 2014.
This allows for the retailer to walk away from the majority of its stores in the future without incurring any future costs of closure.
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