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Fri 31st Jul 2020 - Itsu launches CVA process
Itsu launches CVA process: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, has confirmed it is to undergo a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which will see 53 of its 77 sites get a rent cut and only two close. Propel revealed earlier this month Itsu had appointed advisers AlixPartners as it looked to step up conversations with landlords and explore possible restructuring options, including the possibility of a CVA. The company said it would seek to protect as many jobs as possible throughout the process and given the limited store closures, large-scale redundancies were not anticipated. At the same time, it reiterated it was not up for sale and was not seeking new investment. An Itsu spokesman said: “Itsu has formally launched a CVA process. Throughout the covid-19 crisis Itsu has sought ways to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on its business, both in the short and long-term. Following extensive consultation with advisors it is clear a CVA offers the best solution to support a viable company going forward. Until the crisis struck in March this year, Itsu was on track to enjoy record sales and growth. However, the unavoidable combination of months of zero trade and ongoing social distancing will significantly affect 2020-21 and beyond. City centres and financial districts are also certain to change with businesses incorporating more regular home working by staff.” The company said a CVA was just one of many actions it was taking to adapt its model to meet the new operating environment. This includes rolling out a streamlined menu, investing in self-service kiosks and advanced digital technology for easier pre-ordering. The company said it had also created a new store concept, which will “open up more trading opportunities for the UK and overseas market”. The CVA does not affect Itsu [grocery]’s relationship with its suppliers. The proposed nominees of the CVA are Simon Appell, Clare Kennedy and Peter Saville from AlixPartners. The CVA meeting will be held on Wednesday, 19 August. The move comes as the business starts a gradual reopening of its UK estate. 

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