Thu, 18 Feb 2021 | ADMINISTRATION
The St Georges Shopping Centre in Preston, Lancashire has fallen into administration after its owners defaulted on a loan taken out against the shopping mall.
At the beginning of February, Alexander Williams and Andrew Dolliver of Ernst & Young (EY) were appointed as joint administrators to the trio of entities which collectively own the shopping centre: IRAF UK Dragon Limited Partnership; IRAF UK Dragon Nominee 1; and IRAF UK Dragon Nominee 2.
In a letter to creditors, Alexander Williams confirmed the shopping centre would remain open despite the administration.
Williams said: "The administration of the partnership and the companies will have no operational impact on St Georges Shopping Centre which continues to trade in compliance with Government COVID regulations on a business-as-usual basis."
The centre’s property manager Munroe K and asset manager Sovereign Centros will remain in their existing roles.
In a statement regarding the administration, Preston City Centre Business Improvement District (Preston BID) said: "The pandemic has had an incredibly adverse effect on bricks and mortar retailers, St George's has been an integral part of the city's retail offer for decades, we're confident it will remain so.”
"We are pleased that it's very much business as usual at the shopping centre, in line with current restrictions, and as we move closer to understanding what the Government's re-opening plans look like, it is essential that consumers continue to support St Georges, and the rest of the city centre, to help our local businesses bounce back from the current crisis and to retain local jobs.”
The pandemic has had a severe impact on UK shopping centres, which have seen non-essential stores forced to close along with plummeting footfall and an increasing number of vacant stores as companies close locations or enter CVAs.
Among those to have been hit hardest by the pandemic was shopping centre chain Intu, whichfell into administration last summer. Intu operated a number of high-profile UK shopping centres, including the Trafford Centre in Manchester.
Calling on the government to provide more support for UK shopping centres, Preston BID said: "While some of the Government's recent support measures have helped some businesses keep going through the pandemic, it is increasingly clear that shopping centres need more help. They drive significant amounts of footfall which is also enjoyed by other businesses locally, especially independents."
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