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Doubts emerge over future of third fashion retailer within Overgate Shopping Centre

The Overgate Shopping Centre in Dundee.
The Overgate Shopping Centre in Dundee.

Last week it was Debenhams. Earlier this week it was Oasis. Now the future of a third fashion shop based within the Overgate Shopping Centre in Dundee is in doubt.

It has emerged that footwear firm Office has been put up for sale by its South African owner Truworth, making it the latest retailer to seek new funding amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has 130 stores in the UK and Europe, with 10 sites in Scotland.

The prospects for a solvent sale are unclear. Looking at options for a sale is normal before a company starts an administration process.

Information sent to potential bidders reportedly said a sale could be completed “within a short time-frame”.

Last week Debenhams, one of the Overgate’s flagship stores, entered administration for the second time in 12 months.

Its administrators are to work with the existing management team to get the department store – which also trades in Perth and Dunfermline – into a position to re-open and trade as many stores as possible again when the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Meanwhile Oasis formally appointed administrators on Wednesday evening, with 200 staff immediately made redundant.

Some 1,800 staff across the shops, concessions and head office will be furloughed and receive 80% of pay.

The brands will continue to be sold online “short-term” while the administrators try to sell the brand.

Oasis administrator Deloitte said the coronavirus had had a “devastating effect on the entire retail industry”.

Office considered a formal restructuring process called a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) last year but ultimately decided against using such a mechanism to close unprofitable stores.

Instead, it concluded a refinancing in September, and said it would shut unwanted shops when their leases expired.

Truworths bought the Office chain in 2015 in a deal worth about £250m.

In addition to its UK estate, it trades from stores in Germany and Ireland.

Carphone Warehouse has also announced its intention to close its shop in the Overgate Shopping Centre.

Overgate centre manager Malcolm Angus said he was keeping a “watchful eye” on the actions of key tenants.

He said: “Overgate is fully aware of the current uncertainty within the retail market and is continuing to listen and work with the centre’s retailers during this unprecedented time.

“We are liaising with all of our retailers frequently and are keeping a watchful eye on the business developments of some of our key tenants.”

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