The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many consumer facing businesses to close their doors for the foreseeable future. All pubs, restaurants and gyms were ordered to close by the Government from midnight on 20 March. Non-essential high street businesses are also being made to close, leaving just supermarkets, pharmacies, pet shops, petrol stations, hardware stores, newsagents, post offices, laundrettes, dry cleaners and banks open.
Laura Ashley has gone into administration after failing to secure sufficient funding to support the business. The 67-year-old clothing and housewares company employs 2,700 people and operates 153 stores across the UK.
Dixons Carphone is closing its 531 standalone Carphone Warehouse stores in the UK, making 2,900 people redundant. The company says that another 1,800 employees affected by the closures will take alternative roles within the business. Dixons Carphone says that this part of its business will make a £90m loss this year and that it will now focus on selling mobile devices and connectivity through its shop-in-shops in 305 Currys PCWorld stores and online.
The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has delivered his first Budget. Among the measures that will affect businesses are changes to the business rates regime and the rules for statutory sick pay: Statutory sick pay will now be paid to all those who are advised to self-isolate due to the coronavirus. Companies with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay payments to employees off sick as a result of the coronavirus for up to 14 days. Firms eligible for small business rates relief will receive a £3,000 cash grant and business rates will be abolished for companies in the
The Exeter-based regional airline Flybe has been placed into administration as a result of insolvency proceedings. The airline has ceased to trade and is no longer able to fly or accept bookings. Most of the 2,400-strong workforce has been made redundant. Flybe was the largest independent regional airline in Europe, carrying around 8 million passengers a year between 81 airports across the UK and the rest of Europe. Flybe had already been impacted by rising fuel costs, currency volatility and market uncertainty but the added pressures put on the travel industry by the spread of the coronavirus
The telecommunications supplier Portal Voice and Data has been acquired by Wavenet. Established in 2000, Wavenet providers data, voice, security and technology services to over 8,000 SME and enterprise customers.
The global alternative asset manager HIG Capital has bought Vernacare.
The obstacle course and mud run specialist Tough Mudder has been bought out of administration by Spartan.
The largest ever private real estate transaction in the UK has taken place, with the announcement that IQ Student Accommodation has been bought by the American private equity firm Blackstone for £4.7bn. IQ owns and manages more than 28,000 beds across the UK