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Office Outlet stores in Ipswich and Colchester spared closure

PUBLISHED: 17:47 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 00:05 21 August 2018

Office Outlet/Better Gym in Russell Road. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Office Outlet/Better Gym in Russell Road. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

Office Outlet’s stores across Suffolk and north Essex have been spared closure, it is understood as fears were raised that the stationary giant may become the next victim of the retail slump.

Office Outlet’s stores across Suffolk and north Essex have been spared closure, it is understood as fears were raised that the stationary giant may become the next victim of the retail slump.

The company as expected to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) yesterday that would involve shutting down some of its 97 stores nationwide.

It currently has stores in Ipswich and Colchester – although it is understood that these outlets will not be closing.

The firm claims to be the UK’s leading supplier of office and home supplies, stationery, furniture and printing services.

According to Sky News, it is reported be asking some of its landlords for a three-year rent holiday in order to stay afloat.

The plan, on which landlords are understood to have been briefed last week, could be among the most radical launched this year.

Carpetright, Homebase, Mothercare, New Look and the restaurant chain Prezzo have all turned to CVAs this year in an attempt to close unprofitable stores due to difficult trading conditions.

The mechanisms require the support of creditors, but are often voted through on the basis that the alternative will leave them having to cope with even deeper losses.

Before House of Fraser was sold to Sports Direct International earlier this month in a pre-pack administration, it was on the brink of implementing a CVA to axe more than half its 59 stores.

Office Outlet was bought by the restructuring fund Hilco for a nominal sum from Staples’ US parent in 2016, and is understood to be working with Deloitte on drafting a CVA, according to The Sunday Times.

Weak footfall and rising costs have contributed to a spate of CVAs being deployed in retail this year.

Office Outlet employs 1,000 people in 96 stores, according to its latest accounts, which cover the year to May 2017. It made a pre-tax profit of £6.1m on sales of £213.9m.

Just last week, representatives for Homebase revealed the company would be shutting 42 of its stores across Britain.

The firm confirmed it would be closing some of its branches as part of a restructure plan that puts 1,500 jobs at risk.

Their proposal included the potential closure of the company’s Ipswich branch at Warren Heath.

Toys R Us also shut its doors earlier this year.

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The Lakeside cafe in Onehouse near Stowmarket will be closing its doors this weekend, owner Helen Goldsmith and sister Heather Moore have revealed.

Suffolk brewer Greene King has teamed up with West Suffolk College to encourage more people to take up careers in hospitality.

A long-running East Anglian business showcase is set to move back to its old home as a new chairman takes over the reins at the organisation behind it.

Many high street businesses have struggled in recent years, with major chains such as Woolworths and Toys ‘R’ Us disappearing from town centres since the 2008 financial crash, along with many independent traders.

An Indian restaurant in Suffolk has been short-listed for an award honouring the best chefs in the industry.

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