As discussed in two recent Walsh Taylor articles (which can be found here and here), the UK retail sector has taken a substantial hit over the course of 2018. In Q2, the number of FTSE-listed businesses issuing profit warnings increased dramatically, and this was shortly followed by the news that organisations were planning to cut back on staff.

Whilst the festive period is usually a busy one for shops and their online-only counterparts, the industry was earlier this week shook by the news that fashion giant ASOS has warned of weak profits for this financial year.

The firm commented that their reductions in prices to match competitors had led to ‘unprecedented discounting’ that did not result in more sales. With economic uncertainty and weaker consumer confidence both present, these have also been mooted as causes for the company’s ‘weakest growth in online clothing sales in recent years’. This resulted in the brand’s shares falling by almost 40% in the morning trading of Monday 17th December.

Unfortunately the bad retail news did not stop there. Moving on to the high street, the US-based owner of Boots, Walgreens Boots Alliance, has said their UK pharmacy sales fell by 3.5% in the three months leading up to the end of November. They have cited a ‘weak retail environment’ as a potential reason and are aiming to launch a global cost-cutting programme to save on money.

Looking forward to next year, those operating in the sector are predictably assessing ways of improving their fortunes for 2019. With many retailers now struggling to influence buyers’ behaviour, some are waiting to analyse the landscape of the marketplace, whereas others are prioritising a digital strategy to combat the cost pressures of physical stores.

As with all businesses suffering from financial pressure, we urge anyone needing help to seek advice as soon as the issues are identified. This will allow them to be made aware of all the potential options available to them.

For more information on how our licensed insolvency practitioners and business recovery team can help, please call 03300 244 660.

Mary Taylor

Mary began working in insolvency for a national accountancy practice in Glasgow thirty years ago and worked in most divisions of the insolvency department.

She then moved to a smaller firm so she could advance her knowledge on a more hands on basis. She moved back to Leeds in 1987 and commenced working with a small firm of accountants and subsequently made partner.

She left in 1999 to set up her own practice, McCann Taylor.
McCann Taylor became involved with the consumer market both in England and Scotland.

Mary sold McCann Taylor in March 2007 and formed Walsh Taylor to concentrate on helping businesses experiencing financial difficulties.

Meg Heath

Meg has a background in supporting SMEs, including the raising of finance and advising on organisational change. She is a non-executive director of companies in the private and third sector, including Walsh Taylor.

Previously she was Deputy Fund Director of one of the largest CDFIs in the UK, and has experience of the social enterprise, charity and private sectors. Her experience of assisting companies to survive and thrive has been gained across a broad range of sectors and in companies of all sizes.

In addition to her work at Walsh Taylor she works for other private companies, including non-executive and trustee positions.

Emma Mifsud
Insolvency Practitioner

After graduating from Leeds University in 2005 with a BA Hons degree in Criminology, Emma worked for a regional law firm in both the property department and insolvency and banking department. Whilst doing so Emma gained a Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP University.

Emma then joined a national accountancy firm in 2009 gaining experience in personal insolvency before moving to a Leeds based firm. At this firm Emma specialised in bankruptcies, IVA’s and negotiating informal agreements with creditors. In 2013 Emma gained her CPI qualification.

Since joining the firm in December 2013, Emma has taken on a portfolio of personal and corporate insolvency cases to extend her knowledge and expertise in all areas of insolvency.

In December 2017 Emma become a licensed appointment taker under the Insolvency Practitioners Association, she is JIEB qualified.

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