Robert Dyas managing director Steven Round told Retail Week that the retailer wants to reduce rent payments and introduce terms such as monthly rents. He said the retailer was talking to “most of its landlords” but would not be drawn on specific terms under discussion. He added that each store is being treated on an individual basis.
Round said: “We think Robert Dyas has got a bright future and we’re trying to secure that.” However, he did not rule out the possibility of administration if the retailer could not address property costs, adding: “One can never say never.”
The negotiations are part of a portfolio-wide review of 105 Robert Dyas stores – all of which are in the south of England – which is likely to lead to the disposal of some poorly performing shops.
Round said: “In certain areas where our leases are coming to an end it’s an opportunity to see what we are doing going forward.”
He added: “We’ve done this in an open way. We didn’t just ask for a simple solution. We’re sharing information with them warts and all in some cases.”
Round said initial reaction from landlords had been mixed. “Some landlords are very positive and others are less keen,” he said. “It’s different things in different places. It’s in the interest of landlords to keep us going.”
He added that in locations where stores are performing less well, Robert Dyas has invited landlords to take the lease back and allow the retailer to vacate, but as yet no landlord has agreed to this request.
Round said he expected to have a better idea of the majority of landlord’s responses in the next month.
In March 2004 Robert Dyas was bought by private equity firm Change Capital, which also owns fashion brand Republic.