If a ‘new normal’ economy exists, it is defined by low inflation, low interest rates and historically high levels of personal debt.
The other day, I sat listening to two economists giving an update on the UK economy. I was reminded of the old joke: ask two economists a question, and you’ll get three answers. We asked a few; they gave us plenty.
As we sat there listening intently to these economists give their latest spin on the state of UK PLC, they talked about the current economic cycle representing a return to normality.
What lessons can retailers learn from the demise of Toys R Us?
NOTE: Images may be subject to copyright
In July 2005, the 50-year old toy retailing giant Toys R Us was sold to private equity buyers for around US$7.5 billion. At its peak it operated 800 stores in the US, with a similar number overseas, including more than 100 in the UK.
Today, Toys R Us is dead in the water. In late 2017, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, and in March 2018, it announced that it would close all 885 US branches, putting more than 30,000 jobs at risk. And just last month, all UK branches also closed, ending the brand’s 34-year presence here.
During its halcyon days, Toys R Us was considered a perfect example of a ‘category killer’, a company that specialised so ruthlessly and efficiently in a single sector that it forced out competition from smaller specialist toy shops and also larger general retailers.
So what on earth went wrong at Toys R Us? Why did this giant of toy retailing on both sides of the pond fall from grace so spectacularly within just over a decade, so that any chance of business recovery was doomed to fail? And what lessons can all retailers learn to avoid a similar fate?
Is Turnaround & Restructuring Work a Conflict of Interests for Insolvency Practitioners? - 13th April 2018
A business that is already in financial distress or heading that way really needs early restructuring & turnaround advice to hopefully save it from becoming formally insolvent. At this stage, you’ve most likely tried sorting the problem yourself and know you need outside help. Getting advice, sooner rather than later, is absolutely paramount if there is going to be a chance of saving the business.
“Beware the Ides of March,” Julius Caesar was famously warned in Shakespeare’s play named after Ancient Rome’s best-known general. Despite being a superstitious man, Caesar ignores the soothsayer’s warning and (plot spoiler alert!) walks straight into his assassination.
Now, I may not be as superstitious as Caesar, and I certainly hope not to meet the same fate! But March does always bring a sense of dread, since it brings with it our annual council tax demand. I received mine last week.
Insolvency Practitioners know that both Individual Voluntary Arrangements(IVAs) and Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) are great ways of saving businesses, getting them back on the right track and as a result preserving value for all stakeholders.
As we all know, the UK public voted to exit the European Union. Now every business, big or small doesn’t quite know what to expect from the decision. As the country goes on negotiating with the EU, small businesses, especially those whose supply chain reaches outside of the UK, have to embrace an undefined future. But what does that really imply to your small business?
As a creditor, you will undoubtedly encounter many different financial situations that put your investments and cash flow at risk. It is your duty (and in your best interests) to protect yourself from potential hazards and to arm yourself with a plethora of knowledge relating to potential situations that could arise concerning the business you are crediting/supplying a service too. Understanding the various laws and legal practices surrounding business operation will allow you to stay ahead of the game and ensure that you receive what you are owed.
One particular form of business that you may have heard of is the Phoenix Company - The formation of this type of company as you will see can drastically affect your ability to regain owed debts. Due to this factor, it is hugely important to understand exactly what this type of company is, and what implications its creation can have for associated creditors.
2016 will be mentioned in history books of the future; depending who the authors affiliate with, and what will happen when it's all over, Brexit and its repercussions will be either glorified or vilified. But so far, almost a year later, 2017 has been a year filled with uncertainty for everyone. Ongoing political instability, like a noxious pandemic, is hitting grass-root start-ups and SMEs alike.
A poor economic climate has seen many companies cutting their losses before things get any worse. The last quarter of 2016 and the first of 2017 saw a huge leap in business insolvencies; the issue over tax rate increases making up the minds of anyone wavering. So catastrophic have the changes being that some say it's comparable to the aftereffects of WW2. So, if your business looks to be in trouble, take some comfort in knowing you're not alone.
Deciding to liquidate a company isn't always an easy choice, especially for smaller businesses where there's often a tight-knit team including family members and employees who've been there since the doors first opened. There's no corporate team going to whiz in and take over, give people their notice periods and a cheque to sweeten the blow; to deal with creditors, sell off assets for their worth or more.
No, when you're a small business, at times like this, you can feel extra small. The responsibility weighs heavy. Many feel tempted to simply walk away, or they bury their heads in the sand. The final insult being that they feel they can't even afford to go out of business in a dignified manner because they can't afford an insolvency practitioner to perform the task. And so they let things slide into the gutter until they are forced into compulsory liquidation by their creditors. The end.
How do the upcoming changes to insolvency rules affect creditors after April 2017? - 20th February 2017
A new set of rules is set to land on the 6th of April 2017 that will alter the direction and process of insolvency practice. This comes as an extremely welcomed change as the rules have remained relatively untouched since 1986 and the creation of the insolvency act. These changes have been carefully crafted by the government in collaboration with members of the insolvency profession, and have the mark of approval from the IRC (Insolvency Rules Committee). What can we expect from the revised set of rules? How will they affect procedures? What affect will they have on creditors and practitioners alike? Although the rules are listed in-depth in a 446-page document, the below summarises the key points: