Debenhams to be liquidated –  business news 2 December 2020.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Debenhams to be liquidated, Rivals eye Arcadia brands, Caffè Nero creditors green light CVA,  OECD says UK economy to contract by 11.2% and warns of lingering pandemic effects, manufacturing sees biggest jump in three years, three-quarters of SMEs plan to invest covid-19, house prices rise 6.5%,  market and other business news.

Here are CPA we want to share the business news stories we have seen that we think will affect our members and readers. Many of us are busy fighting to protect our businesses and therefore might have missed some of the news that could impact small businesses, their owners and those that sell on credit.

Debenhams to be liquidated

Department store chain Debenhams is to be wound down after Christmas, with the loss of up to 12,000 jobs and closure of 124 stores. The first branch closures are expected in the new year, with all expected to close down by the end of March. Debenhams has been trying to find a buyer but its administrators have not received “a deliverable proposal”.

JD Sports had been in talks over acquiring the chain but withdrew after Arcadia – which operated more concessions in Debenhams than any other retailer – collapsed into administration.

Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory – which has been running Debenhams since April – said while “all reasonable steps were taken to complete a transaction that would secure the future of Debenhams … a viable deal could not be reached.” He said the firm “remains hopeful” that alternative proposals for the business may yet be received. Considering the fates of Debenhams and Arcadia, Daniel Burke of Blick Rothenberg told the I, “they are simply not in touch with their target markets.”

It’s only Wednesday but this is already one of the worst weeks for Britain’s high Street.

Rivals eye Arcadia brands

With retail group Arcadia having collapsed on Monday, administrators at Deloitte are searching for buyers for its brands, which include Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins. Experts say that due to the size of Arcadia – which has eight brands and 466 stores – finding a single buyer is unlikely, meaning it is set to be broken up. Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge are expected to attract the most interest. Frasers Group, which owns House of Fraser and Sports Direct, has expressed interest in some of the brands, while M&S, Next and Boohoo, which has already acquired Oasis and Warehouse, have all been touted as possible bidders. Elsewhere, KPMG has been appointed as administrator to Redcastle, a subsidiary of Arcadia that owns the Topshop and Topman store on London’s Oxford Street.

Caffè Nero creditors green light CVA

Caffè Nero’s landlords have backed a rescue deal that will see it renegotiate rents and shut some branches, with more than 90% of creditors who voted backing the CVA. The vote came a day after a takeover bid from Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the owners of petrol forecourt operator EG Group – a move rejected by the café chain’s bosses. Caffè Nero modified the CVA following the bid, saying that if the chain is sold in the next six months, creditors will have any arrears paid in full. The Times notes that under insolvency law, creditors can challenge the outcome of the restructuring plan within 28 days. Lawyers for EG Group have written to Caffè Nero, highlighting the possibility of a landlord revolt.

OECD: UK economy to contract by 11.2%

The latest economic outlook report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggests the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery will lag behind every other major economy, bar Argentina. The OECD report forecasts that the UK economy will contract by 11.2% this year, with this steeper than the 10.1% fall in GDP it predicted in September. The OECD also downgraded its forecasts for UK growth to 4.2% in 2021, from 7.6% three months ago. The OECD said that, alongside the coronavirus crisis, Brexit poses a threat to growth, suggesting failure to secure a trade deal with the EU would see “serious additional economic disturbances in the short term” and have a “strongly negative effect on trade, productivity and jobs in the longer term”. Overall, the OECD said the global economy is set to shrink by 4.2% this year before rising 4.5% in 2021 and a further 3.75% in 2022.

OECD report warns of lingering pandemic effects

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned that businesses have borrowed so heavily amid the COVID-19 crisis that their performance will be affected for years to come. The OECD report warns: “A high level of debt combined with a high risk of default could undermine recovery.”

Manufacturing sees biggest jump in three years

Stockpiling ahead of the Brexit transition deadline prompted activity in Britain’s manufacturing sector to rise at the fastest pace for nearly three years in November, the latest survey from IHS Markit/CIPS reveals. The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index reading hit 55.6 last month, up from 53.7 in October on an index where a reading above 50 indicates growth. Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club, said the increase in stockpiling and increased demand from the EU delivered an “appreciable lift to manufacturing activity” last month

Rule change risks company rescues

Experts have warned the partial return of crown preference – under which certain tax debts take higher priority for repayment in insolvency cases – will see CVAs used less often, with Damian Webb, a partner at RSM Restructuring Advisory, warning that the policy would “severely constrain restructuring options”. Tim Symes, a specialist in insolvency at law firm Stewarts, said that as HMRC can insist on being paid in full in a proposed CVA, the plan “could instantly become dead in the water.” “HMRC will have gouged out such a large share from available assets that it won’t be worth unsecured creditors supporting it,” he added. Insolvency trade body R3 has also voiced concern over crown preference and asked for it to be suspended.

Three-quarters of SMEs plan to invest

Research from Barclaycard Payments shows that 74% of SMEs are planning to invest in their business next year. The poll reveals that 66% of smaller firms felt more prepared for November’s England-wide lockdown than they were for the initial shutdown in March. While 36% said they were more mentally prepared, 32% said they had made changes to their business that had made it more resilient – with almost half of SMEs having boosted their online presence amid the pandemic. Konrad Kelling, head of small business at Barclaycard Payments, commented: “The past year has been incredibly difficult for SMEs … It’s reassuring to see that many have been able to take advantage of the lessons learned during the first lockdown to adapt their business”.

House prices up 6.5%

Figures from Nationwide show that house prices are 6.5% higher than a year ago, with this the steepest increase since January 2015. Month-on-month, prices climbed 0.9% in November, hitting an average of £229,721. Nationwide research shows properties in national parks carried a 20% premium when sold, with homes on the outskirts of these areas also selling for 6% more than equivalent property elsewhere. Looking to what the future holds, Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner said that the outlook remained “highly uncertain” and suggested housing market activity is likely to slow in the coming quarters, especially once the stamp duty holiday expires at the end of March 2021. Andrew Wishart, a property economist at Capital Economics, expects to see a 5% drop in house prices next year – but not a house price crash. Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club, said that a recent increase in activity and strengthening of prices would “prove unsustainable sooner rather than later due to challenging fundamentals for consumers”.

Covid-19 general news

The UK added 13,429 new cases yesterday. There were also 603 new deaths, raising the total to 59,051.

Globally 602,219 new cases brough the global total to 63.6 million with 1,480,709 deaths.

PM Boris Johnson has urged MPs to back his stricter Covid tiers system for England, amid a threatened rebellion from his backbenchers. The PM said the NHS “remains under pressure,” despite progress in tackling the virus during the nationwide lockdown ending today. A number of Tory MPs have criticised the new regional restrictions. The month-long shut-down was unpopular with many members of the ruling Conservative Party—and the new proposed system of regional restrictions is proving no more palatable. More than 50 Tory MPs voted against the measures on Tuesday, the biggest internal rebellion since Boris Johnson’s election victory last December.  Tory rebels argued the government has not proved the measures’ effectiveness.

Britain’s health regulator is to be the first country to give emergency authorisation to a covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical giant, and BioNTech, a smaller German firm. Britian has 40m vaccine does on order – enough for 20m people. Hospitals have been asked to be ready to start vaccinating by 7th December with the army said to be assisting.


The FTSE 100 recovered from Monday’s losses yesterday, rising 1.9% as investors continued the positive moves of November on hopes of the vaccines and their ability to open economies back up, fueling a global recovery.  The market was further boosted by robust Chinese manufacturing data.

Overnight, the S&P500 climbed 1.13% and the NASDAQ rose 1.28%, extending record runs. In Asia markets were mostly flat.

The pound has dropped on Brexit news to 1.108 Euros and 1.336 US Dollars. Brent crude is fairly flat with Brent at $47.4 and Gold has strengthened to $1829 .

A bipartisan group of American lawmakers unveiled a $908bn covid-19 relief bill to provide emergency aid to the unemployed, small businesses and airlines until March.

Post-Brexit negotiations

British and EU negotiators are working hard to strike a post-Brexit trade deal before the end of this week. Round-the-clock talks in London are making progress, however, genuine disagreement remains on the two biggest obstacles, namely fisheries and a state aid to businesses.  While the situation remains hopeful, negotiations are incredibly delicate.

1.3m Britons set to delay tax returns

A survey conducted by online accountants TaxScouts shows that more than one million people plan to put off tax returns and risk having to pay £130m in fines to HMRC. While tax returns must be filed by January 31 2021, almost 30% of those polled said the coronavirus crisis had made them more likely to put off dealing with their tax return. This equates to around 1.3m of Britain’s 4.5m freelance taxpayers. It was found that three in ten would wait until January to file their tax return, with 45% of these taxpayers planning on leaving it until the final week of the month and 6% planning to file on January 31. Those who miss the deadline face a £100 fine. Mart Abramov of TaxScouts warned that a “piling up” of deferred tax payments from 2020 and the first advanced tax payments in January, coupled with the financial impact of the pandemic and a tendency to delay tax returns until the last minute, could delive r “a perfect storm”. Lucienne Parry of Moore said many taxpayers would face tax bills twice the size of normal as they had already deferred their July 31 payment.

Tax system reform call

Sam Robinson, a senior researcher at think-tank Bright Blue, argues the case for tax reform in a piece for City AM. Pointing to the nation’s economic hit from the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Robinson says fiscal consolidation, including tax rises, “will undoubtedly be needed at some point”, adding that when the time comes for higher levies, “we will need a tax system that can cope with the scale of the challenge effectively.” Calling for reform, he says there are “structural problems” in the existing “outdated, byzantine” tax system.

Don’t let Covid-19 bust your business!

It will if your cash flow dries up, either sooner or later.

The Credit Protection Association (CPA) has been assisting thousands of UK businesses to get paid since 1914. We have seen many financial crises, this one will be particularly deadly for suppliers for sometime to come.

CPA eases cash from tardy debtors – Efficiently, Effectively, Economically and Ethically. Above all tactfully, because maintenance of goodwill is paramount.

To meet the needs of creditors in the current crisis, we have designed a “critical care” package especially tailored for the situation.

  • The annual package costs start at very low rates
  • A minimum performance warranty is provided
  • Several complimentary services included

Clients instruct CPA on-line via their PC or phone, completely user-friendly. Your late paying customers are told to pay you direct (not to us).

A very recent report shows a 23% increase in the number of unpaid invoices since March 11th THIS YEAR – are you getting a build-up of late payers?

Right now, overdue accounts must be a concern and CPA has a great track record of encouraging slow-payers to pay their suppliers quickly.

It takes less than 17 minutes to see how you would benefit, do you have the time now?

No face-to-face meeting required – just call Peter Uwins, CPA’s National Sales Manager, on 020 8846 0000 (business hours) or email today.

When you see your money come in, you will be so glad you used CPA.

Do you sell on credit?

With pressures on the cash flow it is essential that you stay on top of the credit limits you grant customers and watch carefully for any late payments.

Those customers will look for the easiest option to boost their cash-flow. Don’t let it be you.

You can’t just assume your customers can and will pay you eventually, no matter how big their name is.

It is essential to have credit management systems in place to monitor and check your customers credit worthiness.

It is also best practice to use a trusted third party like CPA to make sure you are paid on time by customers, no matter how good a name they have.

About CPA

The Credit Protection Association can help!

Formed in 1914, CPA has been providing credit management services to SMEs for over 100 years.

At the Credit Protection Association, we provide first class credit information that can help you avoid being over extended to customers who are at risk. Our monitoring service can flag up warning signs long before the end, giving you the chance to adjust and reduce your exposure. We provide recommended credit limits and credit scores on a traffic light system and can help you set appropriate credit policies for your customers.

We regularly publish lists of the latest insolvencies but by then it is too late. Our credit reports however predict approximately 96% of company insolvencies long before they arrive.

Companies in trouble usually have very bad cash flow and they try to deal with it by delaying payment to their suppliers, increasing your exposure to them.

If you supply on credit, help us help you identify the risks.

Why use a third party collector?

As a third party collector, we can also get your payments prioritised over those who are not as hot on collections. When your customer receives a letter from the Credit Protection Association regarding their outstanding account, they are going to want to get that resolved as a priority. Our overdue account recovery service can get your unpaid invoices to the top of their “to do” list and get your invoice paid.

Over the years we have collected billions in overdue invoices for our customers.

Our debt recovery and credit management services give our members the financial freedom needed to grow and prosper, while our new Late Payment Compensation department could unlock hidden potential and offer the compensation needed to springboard your business to success.

You might be hesitant about contacting a debt collection agency. What are they going to be like?

Can they help your particular type of business?

There is no need for concern. CPA are courteous, helpful and very probably have had direct experience of working with your type of business.

Debt collection agencies are not all alike.

Success lies in both recovering money and keeping customers happy. The Credit Protection Association was founded in 1914 and has helped tens of thousands of UK businesses to collect outstanding payments and reduce the risk of incurring bad debt. We believe that creditors deserve to be paid for the work or goods they have supplied but we fully understand the need to maintain
the best possible relationship with customers!

At The Credit Protection Association, we provide solutions, advice and back-up in all areas relating to the supply of services or goods on account. Client-members receive everything they need from a single source to reduce debtor days and write-offs.

The Credit Protection Association has helped has assisted tens of thousands of UK businesses with their credit control requirements, since the First World War.

We are polite, firm and efficient when it comes to recovering outstanding debt.

“We have used CPA for a number of years now. The website is easy to navigate around with lots of helpful reports. The staff are always at hand and very friendly. CPA has helped us reduce our debt over the years and keep track of potential issues with our customers.”
~ CPA client in Buckinghamshire

“The service from CPA has proved to be everything that you said it would be. We have already seen a huge benefit. We have had a number of overdue accounts paid promptly and directly to us. It is also a huge weight off our mind to know that once we have passed an overdue payment over to you, you take care of everything whilst keeping us informed.
~ Credit Controller client in Warrington

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections


Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

CPA is passionate about late payment

The Credit Protection Association has been protecting smaller firms against poor payment practices for over 100 years.

We are extremely passionate about breaking the late payment culture that holds back the UK economy and threatens many SMEs, with cash flow difficulties being the single biggest killer of Britain’s small businesses.

If you were regularly paid late we can help. Those former customers used you to boost their own cashflow, regularly paying you late.

As a result you had extra costs, you had the distraction of having to chase payment, you had opportunity costs because your capital was tied up in their late invoices.

Under little used legislation, you are entitled to compensation for those late payments.

You put up with the PAIN – now claim the GAIN!

Now you can boost your own cash-flow.

CPA can help unearth the those hidden treasures.

We have the technology to reveal the compensation you are due and we have the extensive experience and expertise to then turn those claims into cash.

Did you know that your business is entitled to a minimum of £40 for every commercial invoice paid late to you over the past 6 years?

How many of your invoices are paid late each month – 20, 50, 100 or more?

At £40 per invoice that’s claim of £57,600, £144,000, £288,000 plus interest. The more invoices the bigger the claim! 

At £100 per invoice it’s £144,000, £360,000, £720,000 plus interest.

Discover NOW the potential value of late payment compensation hidden in your sales ledger!

For over 20 years, CPA has calculated and recovered Late Payment Compensation on behalf of Clients!  

Yes, CPA can help you boost your business cash-flow.

Don’t let your bankers control you, contact CPA today.

Discover NOW the potential value of late payment compensation hidden in your sales ledger!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.

Read our blog here on how to crack down on the late payment culture.

Read our blog here on how to give late payers the slap they need.

The “Why” of the late payment culture.

New PM should walk the walk and back small firms over late payments

Paying late is “crack cocaine” to big business.

Late payment culture risks “spiraling out of control”

visit our late payment compensation page

See our full blog and FAQ on late payment compensation

Do you realise you could be sitting on a fortune?

Late payments often result in a cash flow crunch and leave SMEs in need of a cash injection.

If you sold B2B on credit then there may be a hidden source of capital you can call on.

If you fancy an extra bit of extra cash in your business, rather than jumping through hoops with your bank, you could look to uncover the resources from an unexpected source within your own business.

Not many are aware but there could be a hidden fortune within your business, sitting there, just waiting to be uncovered and released.

We can help you uncover the pile of gold, you didn’t even know you were sitting on.

If you trade with other businesses and were often paid late then you could be entitled to significant compensation.

Under little known and under-utilised legislation your business could be due huge amounts in compensation that you didn’t even know about.

Let’s be clear – this is not a way to weaken any customer relationships you value. It is one that identifies who’s been paying late and then recover the potentially significant sums in compensation using Late Payment Legislation from businesses where the relationship has already ended.

You can pick and choose who you want us to follow up – but once we’ve agreed which companies you’d like to pursue compensation from it’s a fast process and there’s no financial outlay to you whatsoever. My team at CPA put its expertise to work to recover the compensation due and fight late payment culture.

That compensation could provide the cash boost your business needed.

But don’t delay, that compensation evaporates if not claimed within six years of the late payment.

How can CPA help?

CPA has developed a unique technology to dig into your accounting records and discover the cash injection you are due by means of compensation. The software does all the hard work. Our software interacts over the cloud with over 300 different software packages, working directly with your accounts package, just so long as it’s stored on a computer.

We recognise that most companies do not have the resources to spend time on the identification and calculation of Late Payment Compensation. Our service can produce an Analyses within just a few days with (usually) less than 30 mins of co-operation from our clients. We work directly with over 300 accounting packages but can also work with bespoke accounts packages. Indeed, speed is essential as the oldest invoices may fall foul of the 6-year time limit.

Once the Sales Ledger Analyses is made available to clients, all that is required is that management decide which commercially sensitive ex-customers to remove from the list and return it to us.

CPA then uses its years of collection experience to explain and recover the Late Payment Compensation Claims. Clients do not handle any part of the recovery process as our team will take all communications from the companies against who the claims has been made. Often, it’s simply a case of explaining the legislation, sometimes we have to go all the way and enforce the legislation through the courts.

The result is that we are realising clients’ claims worth tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds which, of course, is pure net profit. You may also be among the recipients of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” should you elect to take advantage of our services.

We do the work, you receive the cash.

If you have supplied goods and services to businesses on credit and were regularly paid late then you could be due significant sums in late payment compensation.

We are talking to companies and unearthing claims in the hundreds of thousands from former business customers who paid them late. Large business customers who abused their power to inflict unfair and sometimes illegal payment practices.

We are helping business owners who are looking to boost the returns from their business before they retire. We are helping businesses who have lost major clients after years of loyal service to get properly compensated for systematic late payment. We are helping companies that were looking to close down, who looked insolvent and finding that cash injection they need to avoid insolvency.

Those former clients who regularly paid you late can finally be made to pay.

Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.

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The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.