Retailers upbeat despite increasing administrations

OPTIMISTIC Rhoda Joseph from Cascades shopping centre
OPTIMISTIC Rhoda Joseph from Cascades shopping centre
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THE bosses of two Portsmouth shopping centres said despite a rise in the number of retail firms going into administration business is starting to pick up.

Shoppers abandoning high street stores for internet rivals helped trigger a 15 per cent rise in retail administrations in the first quarter of 2012, a report has revealed.

Accountancy firm Deloitte said a total of 69 retailers collapsed, up from 60 in the same period the previous year, as the squeeze on consumer spending and the growing popularity of online retailers took their toll.

Two of these – video games retailer Game and toy shop Hawkins Bazaar – had stores which have now closed in the Cascades shopping centre, in Commercial Road.

But centre director Rhoda Joseph said that firms are already lining up to take their places as soon as the administrators hand back their empty premises.

She said: ‘The number of administrations has had an impact because we’ve had two shops that have closed, but the advantage we have is that both were in excellent locations so we are having no trouble getting new shops in to replace them.

‘This is as bad as things are going to get and things are set to improve from here.’

Other companies entering administration during the first quarter of this year include outdoor specialist Blacks Leisure, gift seller Past Times and lingerie firm La Senza, between them accounting for nearly 10,000 job losses.

Gunwharf Quays director Peter Emery said: ‘What we tend to experience is when a national chain goes into administration they tend to be doing very well in Gunwharf.

‘Retail is up by about 10 per cent this financial year – we’re in a very comfortable position.

‘We are of course concerned with so many chains in trouble but we can usually turn an outlet around quite quickly.

‘Of course we don’t want any retailer to go into administration but if it does occur it’s a case of maximising our opportunities.’