Jobs at risk as troubled high street retailers seek to cut costs

  • @Thompj

The high street faces another crunch week as the fate of some 9,000 staff at the budget fashion chain Peacocks hangs in the balance.

Separately, Comet, the electrical retailer, is pressing landlords to cut its annual rent bill after it was snapped up by a private equity group for a token £2.

The administrator KPMG is close to a sale of Peacocks, but even if the 600-plus store chain is rescued, hundreds of unprofitable shops are likely to be closed.

Alshair Fiyaz, the Pakistani tycoon, has teamed up with the Danish investment fund Solstra Capital to finance a bid. The property firm Jones Lang LaSalle would advise on the disposal of stores.

Meanwhile, Comet is seeking to slash its annual rental bill of £77m after the takeover by OpCapita. The 248-store retailer wants to switch to monthly rents, and has tested the appetite of landlords to take the least profitable stores off its hands, in addition to earmarking the weakest shops for possible closure when their leases expire.