What worked for them could work for you too

We wrote earlier about some positive examples of brands that have gone into administration in recent years but emerged stronger and more profitable as a result. 

This proves that administration is not an automatic death sentence for companies and can function as intended – as a way for an external administrator to come in and turn a business with financial problems around. 

The same thing can happen for businesses that enter a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) as some companies that originally enter administration choose to do.

A CVA is an agreement between a business and its creditors to accept a more manageable method of repaying its debts. 

All the debt is added together and a proportion is written off by creditors to facilitate the next stage – where the company agrees to repay the remainder in regular instalments monthly over an agreed period of time, usually five years.

Once the remaining debt is paid off then the CVA is completed and the business emerges, debt free and ready to grow once more. 

Sometimes a company doesn’t or can’t keep up with the repayments and then other options can be considered including liquidation but a CVA is a proven and reliable system of clearing excessive debts and allowing a business to repair and then regrow itself. 

We look at some recent examples of some household names that entered a CVA and have emerged stronger on the other side. 


Homebase went into administration in 2018 after former owners Wesfarmers, an Australian conglomerate, unsuccessfully tried to use the brand as a springboard into the UK market. 

It was bought by Hilco Capital for £1 who then decided that a CVA would be a better option for them to pursue their recovery plans instead of administration. 

They closed a third of their underperforming stores and two warehouses quickly to reduce outgoings then concentrated on revamping the remaining stores, introducing new ranges and investing in a new website to promote online commerce. 

So successful were the fundamental changes that they were able to exit their CVA in 2020, some 18 months earlier than originally planned. 

Their future plans include opening 15 new stores over the next few years as well as opening branded concessions within Tesco and Next stores. 


Following the difficulties encountered by keeping stores closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, Poundstretcher entered a CVA in July 2020 

It exited the CVA in November 2022 and is now set on stimulating growth even further citing its opening of 30 news stores last year and plans to open another 50 in 2023 to add to its UK-wide portfolio of 350. 

It is also offering staff who have been with the business at least a year a 10% pay rise from April 1 2023. This matches an equal 10% pay rise that was given to staff last year as a reward for their hard work post-pandemic and from their positive turnaround. 

Ann Summers

Ann Summers entered a CVA in in December 2020 as a result of losses due to pandemic-forced closures but enjoyed huge profitability in the following two years and was able to exit the arrangement early in January 2022. 

From a £11.3 million loss in June 2019, the business returned to profits of £7 million in June 2021 with sales up 9.3%.

CEO Jacqueline Gold said they had taken advantage of the rise in online shopping and the brand’s online team had driven the return to profit although they would be looking to add new physical stores in the future. 

Another crucial component of the arrangement was being able to switch 25 of their stores to a turnover based rent system rather than a flat amount and agreeing new rents with the landlords of 91 other stores. 


Fashion brand Apricot is exiting its CVA agreement 16 months ahead of schedule based on a successful implementation.

The CVA was due to run until December 2023 but creditors agreed to exit the process in August 2022 instead. 

The company was able to switch 13 of its 14 UK stores to turnover based rent following creditor approval and were able to keep all of the stores open as a result. 

These savings along with an improvement in trade allowed the company to exit the restructuring process early and provide creditors with increased dividends.

Many companies go through turbulent financial times. It’s part of the ebb and flow of regular business but sometimes it’s hard to move on from stubborn debts that you just can’t seem to get rid of. 

These can hold back otherwise profitable and viable companies from reaching their true potential and in the worst cases could even leave them on the brink of insolvency themselves. 

Business owners and directors need to know where they stand which is why we offer a free initial consultation for any who want to find out exactly what options they have available and how they can work best for their company. 

Whether it could be a CVA, an administration or even liquidation, they will be able to thoroughly understand what each entails and which will be the preferable choice for them to make – once they get in touch.