Ulster Bank (Northern Ireland)
Region: Northern Ireland
Programme: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Closing all of its department stores as part of the COVID-19 lockdown and facing a long period of no revenue meant things were looking bleak for Northern Ireland retailer SD Kells. But a loan from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) enabled the company to pay all its suppliers and cover its ongoing costs until it was allowed to reopen.
Read what the business had to say in this CBILS case study.
British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your organisation does?
Ian Kells, director of SD Kells: SD Kells is a family-run chain of department stores. We have 17 stores across Northern Ireland, selling menswear, ladies’ fashion, children’s clothing and other such products.
The coronavirus has affected a huge number of businesses across the UK. What problems were you facing as a result of the outbreak and what made you apply for CBILS support?
As soon as the government lockdown was implemented, we had to close all 17 of our stores. That meant we were facing a long period of no revenue, and with stock to pay for and ongoing overheads we needed to borrow. That was our reason for applying to CBILS for financial support.
How long did the application process take? Did you need any support?
The process was complete in a very short time – a few weeks – and with the support of our relationship manager at Ulster Bank.
Our overdraft facility wouldn’t have coped with our financial commitments through lockdown and going forward. The CBILS loan enabled us to pay our bills during that time and be ready to reopen as soon as we were allowed.
Ian Kells, director of SD Kells
What advice would you give to other businesses that are applying for a CBILS loan?
I’d offer two pieces of advice for those businesses that are considering applying to the scheme but are yet to do so. First, to begin by working out what you owe and when, and then completing a detailed projection of your cash and cashflow. Second, to seek help from your bank.
How has the CBILS loan helped your organisation to weather the outbreak? And what might have happened if you hadn’t received it?
The business has an existing overdraft, but once we closed our stores and had a period of no revenue to reckon with, the facility wouldn’t have coped with our financial commitments at the time and going forward. The CBILS loan enabled us to confidently continue to pay our bills while in lockdown and be ready to reopen as soon as we were given the go-ahead.
Without the loan, we wouldn’t have been able to pay our suppliers and providers in full, which would have had an impact on our ability to reopen.