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Southampton-based insolvency expert predicts more firms will face administration
MORE than a third of retail firms in Southampton are at risk of failure in the next year, a city insolvency expert warned last night.
As HMV became the latest big-name company to call in administrators, James Stares, from Grant Thornton in Southampton, said many more businesses are likely to experience serious trouble in the coming 12 months.
But he insisted that doesn’t mean all those shops would automatically disappear from the high street, with research by insolvency trade body R3 late last year showing nearly half of jobs surviving insolvency in the retail sector.
Bosses at HMV insisted they were “convinced” they can secure a future for the business, which employs 4,500 people and has 239 stores nationally.
But its problems follow hot on the heels of the demise of Jessops and Comet.
Mr Stares, who is also R3's southern regional chairman, said: “These figures seem to indicate that HMV and Jessops are not the only retailers struggling.
“However, this is not to say that any business in the ‘at risk’ category cannot pull through and I would urge any retailer to ask for help at the first sign of trouble.
“The insolvency process, while never good news, can result in significant parts of the business surviving and many jobs being retained.”