Shopping giant Intu failed to reach an agreement in financial restructuring talks today meaning Intu Watford and Intu Milton Keynes could be closing their doors having just re-opened them following the coronavirus shutdown.
Earlier this week, Intu Properties warned that shopping malls across the UK may have to close their doors for a period. Intu Properties who are currently £4.5 billion in debt have been in talks with their creditors to obtain standstill agreements. This would have meant Intu would not have to pay back what it has borrowed until the end of 2021. These talks failed and Intu is entering administration with potential closures in Watford & Milton Keynes.
What is administration?
Administration is an insolvency procedure that protects your company against legal pressure from its creditors while an Insolvency Practitioner or firm acts as administrator. Many companies come back from administration.
What does this mean for our high streets?
The news comes as a double blow as Milton Keynes and Watford have lost Debenhams in the past month. The closure of a two-year-old Debenhams store in Watford is particularly disappointing . With its upmarket beauty hall and gin bar, it had been billed as the retailer’s ‘store of the future’. New ideas were introduced which included hosted events for Beauty Club members – a new online loyalty scheme and forum, featuring tips and advice on products from regular customers.
Some view a potential collapse as a good thing for independents who have struggled recently. Rents have been extremely high for all involved and changes in shopping behaviour have created the perfect storm alongside the coronavirus pandemic. Many are hoping landlords take note and look at rent levels.