The London-based food hall operator, which has three locations across the capital in Victoria, Fulham and the West End, announced in July last year that it had taken the decision to keep all of its sites closed while social distancing remains.
With Market Halls now not anticipating being able to reopen until Summer 2021 at the very earliest, and with trade creditor balances continuing to mount-up, the group is taking 'decisive action' to safeguard its future by undertaking a financial restructuring programme funded by a new investor in the business, Gees Court Partners.
Four group entities - Try Market Halls Limited, Try Market Halls Fulham Broadway Limited, Try Market Halls Victoria Limited, and Try Market Halls Oxford Street Limited - are each launching a CVA.
Since the first national lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020, Market Halls has kept all three of its London locations closed, with the board choosing not to reopen any of them each time restrictions were loosened as they agreed that with social distancing and other pandemic restrictions in place, their central London locations could expect very low footfall and reopening would be likely to result in an increased cash shortfall.
“The past 14 months have been the most challenging of my career," says Andy Lewis-Pratt, founder and chief executive of Market Halls.
"Prior to the pandemic, we were fast-growing and had exciting plans for our business. But with prolonged restrictions forcing us to close our doors indefinitely, the future of Market Halls is now at real risk.
"We’ve been working incredibly hard to find a way through, and after much consideration, it’s our firm belief that these CVA proposals represent the best means possible of giving us the flexibility we need to secure our future.”
Will Wright and Chris Pole from Interpath Advisory are the proposed nominees of the CVA.
“London’s hospitality sector has seen trade decimated during the course of the pandemic, and Market Halls is no exception," says Wright.
"With little prospect of the business being able to reopen until the mid to late summer at the very earliest, the CVA proposals provide the Companies with the additional flexibility they require to navigate the challenging months ahead, as well as securing new investment for the future.”
All three Market Halls sites have reached consensual agreements with their landlords such that no further compromise of the leases is required. The landlords are therefore classed as Critical Creditors for the purposes of the CVAs, and as such are excluded from the proposals.
Detailed proposal documents will be made available to creditors via a dedicated website today. The creditors will have until 16 June 2021 to vote on the proposals.