EY appointed to shopping centre administration

01 March 2021 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read

Consultants from EY have been appointed to the administrate shopping centre owner IRAF UK Dragon. The firm was behind the St George’s shopping centre in Preston, and appears to have fallen victim to the adverse trading conditions of the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown.

UK retailers are suffering a worse hangover from the lockdown months than many of their continental counterparts. According to the Confederation of British Industry, by the end of April 2020, 96% of retailers were reporting cash-flow difficulties, with the pandemic having exacerbating long-running trends in the embattled high street – and the sector has not yet recovered.

As a result, a number of bricks-and-mortar retailers have succumbed to the pressure over the last year, and filed for administration. The latest casualty of this trend is IRAF UK Dragon, the owner of the St George’s shopping centre in Preston. The St George’s shopping centre was first opened in March 1966 as an open-air centre. The location has undergone several revamps since, and currently houses stores such as Marks and Spencer, Superdrug, New Look and River Island.

EY appointed to shopping centre administration

According to a spokesperson from Preston Business Improvement District, the current Covid-19 pandemic had had an "incredibly adverse effect on bricks and mortar retailers. They also urged residents to continue to support St George's and help local businesses "bounce back" from the crisis when shops were allowed to reopen.

In the meantime, the North-West retailer has been put into administration. Alex Williams and Andrew Dolliver of Big Four firm EY have been appointed to oversee the process, while the shopping centre will continue to trade as it houses a number of essential retailers.

Williams commented, "The administration of the Partnership and the Companies will have no operational impact on St Georges Shopping Centre which continues to trade in compliance with Government Covid regulations on a business as usual basis. The Property Managers (Munroe K) and Asset Managers (Sovereign Centros) of the shopping centre remain in place fulfilling their existing roles."