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Coronavirus: Next kicks off sale – but only of warehouses | Business News

A branch of Next on Oxford Street, central London.

The style retail big Subsequent has kicked off the sale of its headquarters and three warehouses – days after mothballing its huge on-line operations amid strain from its workforce.

Sky Information has learnt that the corporate has appointed Savills, the property agent, to discover a purchaser for its head workplace in Leicester.

Subsequent mentioned that one other agent, Acre, would oversee the warehouse disposals.

The sale-and-leasebacks are anticipated to generate tens of tens of millions of kilos for Subsequent, serving to to fortify its steadiness sheet because it faces the prospect of short-term revenues falling to zero.

Nonetheless, the processes come at a time of rising uncertainty for components of the industrial property sector.

Lord Wolfson, the corporate’s chief government, mentioned alongside its full-year outcomes final month that on-line gross sales had been anticipated to fare higher throughout the pandemic than these at its shops, though it has since closed each routes to market.

Subsequent initially proposed to maintain its distribution centres open, earlier than saying that it will briefly shut them after suggestions from employees.

The retailer added that it had modelled a number of “stress eventualities”, probably the most excessive of which was a £1bn fall in gross sales – equal to 1 / 4 of its annual revenues.

Rival chains have been wrestling with the query of whether or not to comply with Subsequent’s instance in closing its logistics operations all through the COVID-19 disaster.

Sky Information revealed this week that the British Retail Consortium was proposing a blueprint to make sure that warehouse employees had been adequately protected in step with the federal government’s social distancing tips.

Commerce unions have accused retailers together with ASOS, Matalan and Marks & Spencer of placing workers’ well being in danger by forcing them to work too intently collectively.

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