A footwear retailer based in the South of England has secured financial support to protect the long-term survival of its business with funding from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) through Clydesdale Bank, owned by Virgin Money UK.
The Shoe Gallery Group Limited, which runs an established Clark’s shoes franchise, will use the CBILS loan to support the business when it reopens as it is unclear what level of trade there will be in the initial weeks and months.
CBILS is a UK Government initiative facilitated by participating banks to provide financial support to SMEs that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the scheme, existing Clydesdale Bank business customers can borrow £10,000 to £5 million.
The business is owned and managed by Mr and Mrs Bond, Clark’s franchisees, who run seven stores. They have a regular workforce of approximately 70 people, which rises during seasonal peaks.
When the coronavirus lockdown was introduced on 23 March the business was forced to close all stores, instantly wiping out their sales income. The company's entire workforce has been furloughed.
Mr Bond, director at Shoe Gallery Group, said:
“Essentially, our business has been mothballed. We run bricks and mortar stores and the lockdown closure means no customers and zero income. There is so much uncertainty for business. We don’t know when we will be able to reopen and what conditions that will be under. We also don’t know yet what percentage of our annual turnover will be affected by the lockdown. Hopefully, we can win back the business, but this loan provides us with some comfort and security and with a means to balance business costs when we’re getting back to normal trading levels.”
The Shoe Gallery Group moved its business to Clydesdale Bank almost one year ago in July 2019 from RBS as part of the Business Banking Switch.
Mr Bond added:
“We can’t speak highly enough of the support we’ve received from Clydesdale Bank. Our relationship managers, Richard Messenger and Harsh Patel, are highly talented and knowledgeable, and they truly understand our business. They were able to offer us informed advice on the best course of action to help the business survive.”
Richard Messenger, relationship manager at Clydesdale Bank, said:
“Many small businesses have watched their incomes disappear and cashflow has been disrupted because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Our job is to work with business customers to work out the best way to ensure they survive through the current crisis. We have a range of ways we can assist, and we will always consider the unique circumstances of each business.
“It’s a very uncertain time for small business owners and we encourage them to reach out early for help.”
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