East Midlands’ retail sector displays mixed fortunes

Bookshops in the East Midlands are bucking wider retail trends, as fewer shops are deemed to be at above average risk of insolvency, new figures show.

According to insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, 33.8% of booksellers in the region are deemed to be at risk for the coming year, down from 35.2% in March 2018.

That figure is also well below the national average for the UK, where more than two in five book shops are in the above average insolvency risk category.

Book shops were also the only retail segment in the East Midlands where risk levels decreased from March this year, highlighting the wider issues faced by the sector.

Publishers experienced a strong 2017, according to the Publishers Association, with income climbing by 5% to around £5.7 billion.

Despite the positive figures, a third of book shops remain at risk of insolvency, while risk levels in other segments of the retail industry are even higher.

Some 44.7% of home furnishing stores are deemed to be at above average risk of insolvency, just above the wider UK average.

Meanwhile 43.6% of footwear and leather goods stores are also struggling financially, a figure that is nearly 6% above the national average for the industry segment.

The data was compiled using Bureau Van Dijk’s Fame database, and uses financial data and director track records to measure financial stability for the coming 12 months.

R3 Midlands chair Chris Radford said that while bookshops are providing positive news for the region, many retailers “still face an uphill financial battle”.

He points to rising business rates and other higher operational costs, adding that the pressure placed on cash flows is causing concern for many retailers.

However, those that act early can increase the number of insolvency, recovery and restructuring options that are available.

Any business facing financial issues should therefore seek appropriate advice from a qualified and regulated insolvency professional at the earliest opportunity.

By Phil Smith




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