Big-brand corporate insolvencies in 2016

Published on December 30, 2016 by Crawfords Accounting

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s a time to reflect on some of the big-brand corporate insolvencies to hit the retail sector, and if you thought it began and ended with BHS, you’d be wrong.

In fact several instantly recognisable brands have fallen by the wayside in 2016 and have either vanished from our high streets and retail parks already, or are likely to do so very soon.

The Centre for Retail Research lists some that have not even been factored into the statistics of their Who’s Gone Bust? report as yet, which already shows an increase compared with the whole of 2015.

Aside from BHS, which was well publicised at the time, household retail brands to fall victim to corporate insolvency in 2016 include Kiddicare, which was owned by Morrisons in 2011-14.

The children’s goods brand is now part of Worldstores Group, but as part of the group’s acquisition by Dunelm, it is required to go through a period of administration – and the CRR suggests that “we expect some rationalisation of this varied group to occur”.

With Kiddicare seemingly down to just one store in Peterborough, this familiar brand of toys and nursery goods could be one of the victims of the buyout.

Staples, the so-called ‘office superstore’ that supplies both stationery and office furniture, is also in the process of shutting up shop.

Online competition has cut into its profit margins, and it seems to have also fallen victim to eco-conscious consumers and workplaces as the trend towards paperless offices means people are buying less stationery.

The CRR says 106 stores will close in the UK, affecting about 1,100 staff; but the brand has been bought by Hilko, and trading could continue to an extent under a different name.

Other recognisable brands in trouble in 2016 include Banana Republic, which should be online-only by the time Big Ben chimes on New Year’s Eve; and Netto, which only returned to the UK in 2014 in partnership with Sainsbury’s, is to close all 16 stores again after its fellow supermarket withdrew support.

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