Cotswold Outdoor shops are a familiar sight on Britain's High Streets. Photo: Bob Smith

Cotswold Outdoor shops are a familiar sight on Britain's High Streets. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The owners of troubled retailers Cotswold Outdoor and Snow+Rock are reported to be seeking a company voluntary arrangement.

Outdoor & Cycle Concepts, which also owns Cycle Surgery and Runners Need stores, is looking for rent reductions and also plans the closure of seven shops.

The heavily indebted company’s pre-tax losses have increased from £6.7m to £13.7m for the year ending December 2018, according to Retail World magazine.

A meeting of creditors will be held in May to approve the company voluntary agreement, which, if accepted, would see lower rents at 50 of its stores and the closure of unprofitable branches.

The Malmesbury, Wiltshire-based company has appointed Grant Thornton to oversee the process.

Outdoor & Cycle Concepts chief executive Greg Nieuwenhuys resigned earlier this month. Jose Ramon Finch joined the board on 1 April as managing director. He said the company is exploring all options. He said: “The future of O&CC is in our hands and it will require hard work, commitment, sacrifices and a strong focus on our day-to-day improvements.”

The company’s acquisition of the Snow+Rock chain was financed with a £40m loan, repayable in 2022. It also has a further £40m of liabilities to its group companies.

O&CC is owned by Retail Concepts NV, a Belgium-based company registered in the Netherlands. It in turn is owned by Dutch outfit AS Adventure Coöpertief UA, which is an asset of French private-equity group PAI Partners.

Cotswold Outdoor began trading in 1974, selling camping equipment. According to the latest published figures, Outdoor & Cycle Concepts employs just over 2,000 people.