Frasers Group expects GBP100m non-cash impairment on assets amid COVID-19 crisis


Frasers Group PLC (LON:FRAS) said it expects COVID-19 to cause a non-cash impairment on asset values.

The retailer noted that it is due to the length of this current lockdown, potential systemic changes to consumer behaviour and the risk of further restrictions in future.

READ: Frasers Group leads shop owners lower after Tier-4 and port blows

The update comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that non-essential retailers could potentially reopen on April 12.

The Sports Direct and Evans Cycles owner said the hit will concern freehold properties, other property, and plant and equipment in the next set of results.

It comes on top of the GBP125mln impairments reported in December’s interim results.

The firm ripped up its previous guidance of a healthy profit increase this year after it was forced to close most of its stores in the key Christmas period.

The whole estate was then closed in early January at the beginning of the current lockdown.

Analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown said that Frasers’ warning is likely a signpost of more pain for the sector as a whole.

“While Frasers’ Sports Direct business has weathered the lockdown relatively well, the group’s other high street names like House of Fraser and Jack Wills have been hurt by a lack of demand for occasion wear and work clothing. Weddings, dinners out with friends and a return to the office for most workers are still a long way off,” they noted.

“Frasers is concerned about ‘systemic changes to consumer behaviour,’ and rightly so. Social gatherings, and even the typical workday, could look a lot different after more than a year of disruption. Not to mention consumers’ increased preference for e-commerce over high-street shops.”

Shares rose 2% to 467.2p on Tuesday morning.

–Adds analyst comment, shares–


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