The Covid-19 crisis is putting further pressure on the family-owned footwear firm, which has been working with McKinsey & Co to review the business.
According to sources cited by Sky News, the company has now hired advisers at Rothschild, the investment bank, to help it explore financing options. These could include accessing new borrowing facilities or launching a company voluntary agreement (CVA), although the company said it was not looking to make widespread shop closures.
But a spokesperson did confirm that a number of the retailer’s 347 UK stores will not reopen once the lockdown comes to an end. Thousands of store staff have been placed on the government-funded furlough scheme to ensure they continue to receive up to 80 per cent of their salaries during the enforced closure of non-food shops.
The loss-making business is thought to be assessing options for those who have not been furloughed. A Clarks spokeswoman said: “Clarks continually reviews all its stores to ensure that they are the right size and located in the right areas in order to provide the best possible service and offering to its customers. As part of this normal review, we have decided not to renew the leases on a small number of stores and as such, these will cease to trade and will not reopen following the coronavirus closures.”