Next puts headquarters and three warehouses up for sale


Fashion retailer Next has put its head office and three warehouses up for sale, as it looks to raise funds following the temporary closure of its stores and website.

The company has engaged property agent Savills to find a buyer for the Leicester head office, while Acre has been tasked with the disposal of the Doncaster warehouses, which will then be leased back.

It is forecast that the sale-and-leasebacks could generate tens of millions of pounds for the retailer, with the company saying last month that it could raise up to £100 million from its properties.

The sale-and-leasebacks form part of a mitigation strategy as Next looks to protect its balance sheet during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has worked out three scenarios in which sales could be down by up to £1 billion next year, with annual profits potentially falling from £594 million in the year to January 2020, to £55 million next year.

It has also slashed investment plans by £45 million and suspended its share buyback scheme as part of phase one of its coronavirus survival plan. The sale-and-leasebacks are part of phase 2.

Next has also said it is considering delaying a £147 million shareholder dividend and that it is seeking rent cuts of around 40 per cent on 53 stores with leases up for renewal in the coming year.

One of the best ways to find properties below market price is to look at recent administrations.

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