Alexon has put about 20% of its stores on the market, but who will take them?

Last week Retail Week revealed that Alexon had put 18 stores - roughly 20% of its 85 standalones - on the market through DTZ. The fashion retailer was one of the biggest Christmas losers with like for likes down 14.3%, and as well as the stores which are officially on the market, the sense is you can have any of the others you want too, if you’re interested.

Putting stores on the market is traditionally seen as a sign of weakness but if you’ve got stores that aren’t paying their way then I don’t see what the problem is.

There are quite a few fashion retailers in the Alexon mould that have more space than they need and for which the concession model, benefitting from the footfall of the department stores they sit in, is a much better route to go down.

Trouble is, who’s going to take them?

For anyone wanting to take a unit shop in a lot of the towns where a middle-of-the-road business like Alexon tends to have its stores, there is plenty of choice already. Doing cute deals direct with rivals seems to be the preferred option these days - like Sir Philip Green’s deal to offload some Bhs stores to Primark - but that’s easier with big stores than the smaller ones that Alexon’s brands occupy.

Finding who the next generation of takers for high street stores is a huge challenge and there are no easy answers - that’s why CVAs have become such a popular option, and there are sure to be a few more of those on the cards.

In this week’s issue we’ll be launching a series of pieces on the future of the high street, and would love to hear your views on how the industry and local and central politicians can do their bit to carve out a future for it.