It’s strange to think that we’re almost a quarter of the way through 2024 already. 

Depending on your situation right now that can be equally scary or exciting but only underlines that time will march on quicker than you might expect, especially if you are trying to put plans in place for the rest of the year. 

This is why you should grab some time to yourself whenever you can to refocus and rest – and maybe catch up with all the interesting business and insolvency news stories from the past seven days!

You can find out what the 2024 Spring Budget means for your business and why it brought a Debt Relief Order (DRO) surprise; how the construction industry is set to face 2024 and why directors and entrepreneurs should embrace the idea of business failure

you can find these stories and more at our advice centre page.


Luxury fashion retailer Matches is being placed into administration by owners the Fraser Group after purchasing the business in December.

The high-end brand sells products from designers such as Gucci and Balenciaga although several others have terminated their relationship with the website amid heavy losses based on lack of finance.

A statement to the London Stock Exchange from Frasers said: “Since Frasers Group acquired Matches, the business has consistently missed its business plan targets and, notwithstanding support from the group, has continued to make material losses. 

“Whilst Matches’ management team has tried to find a way to stabilise the business, it has become clear that too much change would be required to restructure it, and the continued funding requirements would be far in excess of amounts that the group considers to be viable. 

“In light of this, Frasers has informed the directors of Matches about the decision to put the group into administration and that Frasers remains committed to the luxury market and its brand partners.”

More than 120 employees have been made redundant with immediate effect. 

Vale of Mowbray

A historic North Yorkshire pie factory in the Prime Minister’s constituency has closed with the loss of 200 positions due to significant financial challenges including rising energy costs. 

Vale of Mowbray based near Northallerton is a family-run business that has been making pork pies for almost a century, opening originally as a brewery in 1795. 

A statement from the business said that costs in recent years had risen precipitously including rising raw material input prices, increasing energy costs and sector-wide recruitment challenges. 

Despite efforts to attract fresh investment into the firm, there had been no viable offers and did not have enough resources to continue trading leaving them no choice but to close the company, with the loss of 171 positions immediately with the rest retained to assist in the winding down of operations. 

Vale of Mowbray made 1.5 million pies a week at its peak production. 

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Vale of Mowbray is a significant local employer with a proud history.

“Having visited the factory a number of times I know the quality of its products and its loyal workforce. 

“I will be monitoring the situation closely and hoping the business can be retained at Leeming Bar.”


A popular Bournemouth nightclub is entering liquidation after 11 years due to a combination of the cost of living crisis on customers and a change of student culture. 

First opened in 2013 by entrepreneur Ty Temel, he said he felt a personal and wider loss for Bournemouth as a result. 

He said: “Until 2020, everything was great. The night time economy was thriving and we actually did a huge refurbishment in 2020. We closed for six weeks, spent just under half a million pounds and we re-opened on the payday weekend in January. 

“We stayed open for six weeks but then we went into lockdown so we entered in an unfavourable cash position as a business.”

Once the business reopened, Halo has struggled to maintain its profit margin since 2022. He said: “The first dip was Brexit because we lost a lot of our overseas staff. The hospitality sector in general took a massive hit and then Covid came. 

“I think the biggest thing has been a cultural shift. I feel the nightclubbing scene is dying. Unfortunately you have students that are pinched by a costs of living crisis and also a behavioural change in people drinking less alcohol.

“I think this is the start of a long bloodbath in the hospitality industry. It’s going to be Armageddon and this is just the beginning of it.”

Anna Valley

A broadcasting production business has gone into business this week. 

Anna Valley had been working in the audio visual integration sector for over thirty years with a strong background providing display technology and cameras to broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV for programmes such as The Voice and BBC Breakfast – both filmed at Media City in Salford.  

The company was also a rental house supplying AV equipment to venues such as ExCel London, Tobacco Dock and the NEC in Birmingham and had expanded into the virtual production sector recently.

Be More Geek

A North East based sci-fi merchandise retailer is closing several stores and relaunching as a new business, retaining some of the previous business’ locations.. 

Be More Geek was founded in Newcastle in 2018 by James Gee after the previous business he worked for as head of merchandising, Grainger Games, also closed. 

The company is closing its stores in Manchester, Middlesbrough and Washington with the loss of seven positions. 

James Gee said: “We were optimistic in 2023 but encountered spiralling costs from the expansion into Manchester where we were met with an unprecedented amount of red tape and delays. 

“After an underwhelming Christmas period every effort was made to save the business as a whole but the business had to close in a liquidation. 

“We have been able to rescue part of the business through a new company and have been able to retain our stores in Newcastle, Sunderland and the Metro Centre retaining 15 full time positions. 

“Whilst this has been a difficult and turbulent time for everyone involved, we are optimistic that the new business can be profitable as we return back to our roots as a local North East focused business.”

James Penman Plant Hire

A construction business in Kirkcaldy has gone into liquidation with the loss of 35 positions in what would have been its 50th anniversary year. 

Directors at James Penman Plant Hire had difficulties meeting their financial obligations brought about during the pandemic which have been exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis. 

The company was formed in 1974 and specialised in groundworks, plant hire and other construction services. 

The business worked on a variety of private and public sector projects including work for Fife Council.

Buffalo Farm Founders Club

A Buffalo farmer in Fife has brought his business out of a pre-pack administration after the firm collapsed under a mountain of “unsustainable” debt. 

Steve Mitchell was able to form a new company and purchase the business and assets back which means that the new company can operate at the same premises with the same staff seamlessly but crucially without any existing debt. 

He founded the Buffalo Farm Founders Club to provide buffalo mozzarella and other milk products in 2005. 

He issued a statement admitting that his “worst fears had come true”. He said: “Despite my best efforts and determination to bring our vision to reality, we have fallen short due to an economic climate impacted by Covid, wars, soaring energy bills, cost-of-living crises and TB that just weren’t foreseen by anyone. 

“All of this has meant that our debts have mounted to a level we simply could no longer sustain, the last few months have been devastating, both professionally and personally. 

“I had to make the extremely hard decision to place the company into administration or face the prospect of seeing the business closed by a creditor and subsequently the company being wound up.”

Mr Mitchell has vowed to repay the faith of original founders and funders that have lost out due to the administration.

Suffolk Agri

A 35-year-old Suffolk agricultural machinery dealership has gone into voluntary liquidation with the loss of 11 positions. 

Suffolk Agri Centre was formed in 1987 offering new and second hand agricultural machinery to the farming sector including parts and servicing. 

A statement from the business confirmed that their plant, machinery and stock would be auctioned to realise the assets for the benefit of creditors.

Mornings are getting lighter and Easter is within sight on the calendar so we’re firmly under way this year. 

But if your business is feeling becalmed, getting a free initial consultation with one of our advisors could put the wind back in your sails. 

Get in touch and we can start to help you put a plan in place that could make the rest of 2024 a strong one.