Spudulike asks landlords for rent cuts in rescue restructuring

Baked potato specialist Spudulike is seeking landlords’ backing for a rescue restructure involving rent cuts and closures in the latest sign of meltdown on the high street.

The chain, which was popular in the 1980s and 1990s when it became synonymous with Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke creations Wayne and Waynetta Slob who named their second child “Spud-u-lika”, wants to close at least four of its 31 outlets.

Landlords, who are being asked to approve the changes next week, said they were being asked to slash rents to as little as 10% of turnover and offer a business rates holiday in order to keep Spudulike afloat. Advisory firm Leonard Curtis is understood to have been appointed to lead the process.

The company, which was founded in 1974 and also trades as Fat Jackets, is aiming to restructure via an insolvency process known as a company voluntary arrangement, which has previously been used by a string of retail and restaurant groups, including Debenhams, Topshop owner Arcadia Group, Mothercare and Carluccio’s, to downsize.

But landlords said they were shocked the scale of rent cuts being demanded by Spudulike were much more severe than previous companies had sought. “If you compare it to Arcadia, it’s much more demanding,” one landlord said. Another said that creditors had not been consulted about the “shocking” proposals.

The restructure attempt comes after a difficult period of trading for London-based Spudulike, which is controlled by entrepreneur Tony Schlesinger.

Parent company T&G Fast Foods Developments reported a pretax loss of £1m in the year to December 2017, similar to the year before, as sales slid 3% to £12.3m. At that time it employed nearly 300 people, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Spudulike and Leonard Curtis have both been approached for comment.

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