Office is a fashion-oriented footwear retailer which operates 113 stores in the UK and 16 concessions across the Republic of Ireland, Germany, the US and South Africa. The retailer is currently focused on online and international expansion, following its acquisition by South African group Truworths’ in late-2015.

Historically one of the better performing footwear retailers in the UK, Office’s sales fell 16.7% to £237.6m in FY2020 and pre-tax losses widened to to £9.3m as the retailer was impacted by store closures during pandemic-related lockdowns. 

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020, Office became the latest in a long list of retailers reported to be looking for new funding, with Truworths raising the ‘For Sale’ sign on the business. Truworths was reported to have hired Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) to run an accelerated sale process of Office.

However, a few months later Truworths instead went on to negotiate further funding for Office and implemented restructuring initiatives - such as a staff redundancy process and securing a revolving credit facility - in order to secure Office’s long-term viability with the group reiterating its commitment to Office’s turnaround.

A&M had previously been called into the flagging footwear retailer in 2019 to assess its financial position and consider options for the business, including a potential CVA. Instead, it concluded a refinancing towards the end of that year and said it would shutter 15 or so loss-making UK stores at the end of their leases. 

Innovation rating: 1

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