Top East Midlands stories of 2018 – a year of struggle on the High Street

2018 has been nothing if not interesting for East Midlands businesses.

Set against a backdrop of the ongoing Brexit turmoil, our top stories of the year have been dominated by closures and administrations as businesses come to terms with the harsh reality of increased competition and a drive for quality by consumers.

We’re seeing a revolution on the High Street, and our top 10 best-read stories of the 2018 prove that our readers are avid followers on the ups and downs of retail and the leisure sector. While this might make for somewhat depressing reading, the sector can never be accused of being dull.

Here are the top 10 most popular stories in the East Midlands over the last 12 months.

Foxes to submit King Power expansion plans in September

It’s been a year of tragedy for Leicester City with the news of the death of chairman and owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash in October. Back in July, the future looked altogether more positive for the club, as plans to extend its King Power Stadium were announced.

The news came just weeks after the Foxes revealed ambitious plans for a huge £80m training facility.

185 jobs lost as DFS founder’s sofa store enters administration

In June, the bonfire of the High Street claimed another victim. Fabb Sofas, the firm set up by DFS founder Lord Kirkham, fell into administration after failing to find a buyer.

Toby Scott Underwood and Peter David Dickens of PwC were appointed as joint administrators of the company, which had a store in, Gilthrook. Nottinghamshire. In total, nine stores closed.

Derby’s largest development site sold to SPV

In August, Derby’s biggest development site, on land once occupied by Derby Royal Infirmary, was bought by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) company called Nightingale Derbyshire Limited.

The 18-acre site was been sold by Derbyshire NHS Foundation Trust to Nightingale Derbyshire. Later in the year, plans for a huge residential scheme on the site were announced.

Thaikun opened in Nottingham three years ago

Nottingham Thai street food restaurant in sudden closure

intu Victoria Centre’s troubled Clocktower dining concept struggled all year, and in August Thaikhun, the Thai street food outlet, was the fifth eaterie to close just three years after it opened, with its owners saying: “This location didn’t quite work out for us unfortunately.”

Gleeds boss leaves Notts County board

A tumultuous August weekend at Notts County Football Club saw manager Kevin Nolan sacked and Gleeds board director Jon Enever also leave the club. The Magpies are now on their third manager of the season as chairman Alan Hardy tries to pull the club away from the League relegation spots.

Housebuilder set to create 360 East Mids jobs

In July, bullish housebuilder Avant Homes launched a regional office in Chesterfield with the promise of creating up to 360 jobs within the next nine months.

The office was launched as part of the housebuilder’s strategic growth plan which sees the group doubling output to 4,000 homes a year and becoming a £1bn turnover business by 2023.

Furniture company enters administration with 271 jobs at risk

In August, some 271 jobs were lost at a Lincolnshire furniture manufacturer after administrators were appointed to the firm.

Chris Pole and Mark Orton from KPMG Restructuring were appointed joint administrators to The Quality Furniture Company, based in Grantham, which made sofas for retailers including DFS, Next, Argos, Homebase, Laura Ashley and John Lewis.

Financial advisers arrested on conspiracy to defraud allegations

In April, two Nottingham financial advisers were arrested by the City of London Police investigating allegations of a major fraud at investment firm Kingsbridge Asset Management.

Kevin McMenamin, who founded Kingsbridge, and former employee Alex Chamberlain were questioned by police on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.

Law firm set for expansion with £17m funding deal

September saw law firm Weightmans set to expand after landing a £17m funding package from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

The firm, which has an office in Leicester, said it would use the funding to invest in recruitment and its office network.

Meat supplier enters administration

In February, Derby-headquartered meat supplier Russell Hume entered administration following a product recall which led to “trading difficulties”.

The company operated from six production sites in Liverpool, Birmingham, London, Boroughbridge, Exeter and Fife and supplied meat to hotels, restaurants and pubs across the UK. It employed a total of 302 people.