Top News From The Week – Carpets, HSBC, London Office Rents & More!

Retail – Laura Ashley in crisis

The struggling retailer has secured a £20m loan from US bank Wells Fargo to fund its day-to-day operations following it’s battle to continue trading.

The company reported sales in the second half of 2019 fell by nearly 11% and it’s share price has dropped by 90% over the last five years.

Founded in 1953, it was a prominent name on the UK high street and one of the world’s leading clothing brands in the 70’s and 80’s. However, it seems to have lost its way – is it a home ware, furniture or clothing store?

On Monday, the firm said trading was “challenging”.

Offices – Central London discounted

According to new data from search engine HubbleHQ, flexible office space saw a 20% discount on prices listed in 2019.

Farringdon saw the largest discount at 45% across London’s top 11 office zones, according to the data compiled in HubbleHQ’s first Flexible Office Index results.

Oxford Circus saw the second-largest discount at 36%

Industrial – Kier sells units

Two units of its Logistics City development in Basingstoke have been sold to a US fund for an undisclosed sum.

One of the units is occupied by Thermo Fisher (nearly 50 sq ft) and the other by Network Rail (36 sq ft).

There is a third unit measuring nearly 23 sq ft that remains empty on the development and is being actively marketed.

The development is next to junctions 6 and 7 of the M3 motorway

Office – HSBC office space under threat

HSBC could be about to shed a tonne of London office space with it’s announcement of 35,000 jobs to go.

Analysts are predicting 15,000 roles will go in Britain alone, many of them at the lender’s Canary Wharf headquarters nicknamed the “Tower of Doom” by some staff.

Although London will remain a hub for investment banking, HSBC is shifting its structured products arm from the UK to Asia where it makes almost all of its profits. 

8 Canada Square

Retail – The rug is pulled from under them

Axminster carpets, went into administration on Wednesday, following 265 years in the business and supplier of carpets to the royal family.

It is the second time the company has gone into administration in seven years. Back in 2013, the company was bought by a consortium led by private investor Stephen Boyd.

Duff and Phelps were appointed as administrators and the same day sold the Axminster Carpets underlay division, Axfelt, to Ulster Carpets.

It also anticipates selling the Axminster Carpet Shop to Wilton Flooring.

About 80 employees at its Axminster factory in Devon have been made redundant