The administrators of the Oasis and Warehouse fashion chains have appointed CAPA to audit stores the businesses traded from around the UK, as another high street retailer fell victim to the effects of Covid-19.
CAPA, the audit and property consultancy which will be conducting full property and accounts payable audits at 92 sites that the two chains occupied, was instructed by administrators at Deloitte.
As staples of high streets and shopping malls across the country, Oasis and Warehouse had employed around 1,800 staff, but similar challenges that all fashion retailers face had affected the group in the past year.
The chains had seen changes in customer behaviour, with more consumers shopping online instead of in store, along with pressure on margins due to competitors discounting, high business rates and minimum wage costs, followed by the enforced closure of all stores during lockdown.
Many of the group’s concession debtors extended payment terms during lockdown – exacerbating pressures on cashflow.
Ultimately, Rob Harding and Richard Hawes of Deloitte were appointed administrators on April 15 this year.
As it became clear in April that a sale of any part of the business as a going concern would not be possible, a decision was taken to accelerate a sale of some of the group’s assets. Certain stock and intellectual property rights were then sold to Hilco Capital.
Rob Harding said: “Covid-19 has presented extraordinary challenges which have devastated the retail industry. It is with great sadness that we have to announce a sale of the business has not been possible and that we are announcing so many redundancies. This is a very difficult time for the group’s employees and other key stakeholders and we will do everything we can to support them through this.
“We would like to thank all the employees and other key stakeholders in the group for their continued support."
After selling the online brands and stock to Hilco, the administrators have now instructed CAPA, which means CAPA’s audit team will use bespoke software to conduct a forensic analysis of all property costs emanating from the stores the businesses operated from.
The auditors will inspect the data on rates, utility bills, and property service management costs, to uncover any anomalies or errors, before recovering any overpaid sums for the fashion chain’s creditors.
The team will also be inspecting all invoices, and information related to them, that were paid out and due to be paid out throughout the two chains. Any overpayments will again be recovered for the creditors, on a no-win, no-fee basis.
CAPA has been appointed on several large-scale retail administrations this year, including Bensons for Beds, Clintons and Quiz Clothing.