Published on Friday, 1st June 2018

 

The latest casualty on the High Street is to be Mothercare, with around 50 of its 137 stores facing the axe as part of a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) with creditors to keep the children’s retailer afloat. For struggling shop chains, the great advantage of CVAs over other forms of restructuring is that they are a way to legally get out of expensive leases.

 

While the list of sites to go has not been announced, the Plymouth Herald is reporting a leaked document (click here) that appears to show Portsmouth as one of the sites to go. If it is correct then the out-of-town store in Havant will survive, as will the branch located on a retail park near West Quay, Southampton.

 

Whether this list of stores turns out to be completely accurate or not, the trend is clear. Of the ten nearest branches to here, all four High Street branches are on the closure list, as do two out-of-town locations; the surviving four are all on retail parks. It’s a similar story in London where of the ten branches closest to the central area, four are on the list and comprise all the High Street branches (although the major shopping centres of Brent Cross, Westfield Stratford and Westfield White City all survive).

 

Across the country, all sorts of retailers are moving out-of-town. This is a worrying trend and it is obviously a threat to Commercial Road, but it is not hard to understand why it is happening. Larger shops are cheaper to run, rents are lower and free parking is often available just outside the front door.

 

It is more important than ever that money is secured for the City Centre Road Scheme so that Portsmouth gets a new retail scheme off the back of allowing a large amount of housing on the former Northern Quarter site. It took three years to save up enough money to pay for the council’s share of the bill – something that should have been done a decade ago, when there was a lot more money around. It really needs to go ahead now and soon.

 

Tags: City Centre, Retail