Big savings are in style for fashion retailers

A major fashion group has appointed chartered surveyors Johnson Fellows as budget managers for its chain of more than 300 shops across the UK, it has been announced.

QS Group, which has its headquarters in Solihull, has asked Johnson Fellows to handle its entire portfolio after the budget management team helped the company make significant service charge savings. The portfolio includes over 200 Store Twenty One boutiques and the chain of QS outlets.

Ginny Simpson, surveyor in the property management department at Birmingham-based Johnson Fellows, said: “We are very pleased to be able to announce that we have been appointed by QS Group to handle budget management for their entire UK portfolio of fashion stores.

“We will be working hard to deliver substantial cost savings for the company by providing a highly professional budget management service which will include challenging levels of service charges that do not appear to be in line with lease agreements.

“At Johnson Fellows, we always aim to exceed our client’s expectations by adding value and reducing liabilities within their portfolios. We have already achieved significant savings for part of the QS Group and it is that level of success that led to this new instruction.”

Johnson Fellows’ team of surveyors manage an extensive range of retail and commercial property throughout the UK. The property management team has a wide client base including national multiple retailers, landlords, property companies, pension funds and private investors. The company specialises in sublet retail portfolio management and manages an array of national commercial investment portfolios, shopping centres, and individually, privately owned investments

Colin Whelan, head of Johnson Fellows’ rating department, said: “In the current tough economic climate it makes sense for retailers to make savings on their costs wherever they can. Many consider cutting back on staff or even closing stores, but do not explore the possibility of making savings on service charges.

“Many thousands of pounds each year can be cut from their costs by challenging those that do not comply with the terms of the lease so it is an area that is definitely worth investigating, particularly for retailers with large portfolios such as the QS Group.”

Development of the Store Twenty One brand includes a refurbishment programme of existing stores and an aggressive new store plan. Around 30 new stores have recently been launched and a further 50 are due to open by the end of 2011.