What stories have you missed this week?
While many people and companies could be dealing with the aftermath of Storm Agnes this week, many business owners have been dealing with an ongoing economic storm all year.
The recent decision by the Bank of England monetary policy committee to hold interest rates for the first time in 14 meetings was a welcome break with little else to look forward to with encouragement for directors looking for aid.
But a respite is a respite and a chance to take stock and catch your breath metaphorically and literally in some cases.
It only takes a few minutes to catch up on all the interesting business and insolvency news stories from the past seven days here too.
So whether you’re interested in finding out how you can create an exit strategy from your business; are we seeing the start of the great British slowdown and why more pubs are vanishing for good this year – you can and more.
A Kidderminster car dealership has entered administration with potential buyers encouraged to come forward.
CMA operated a franchised Vauxhall dealership in Kidderminsiters and had faced financial difficulties in recent months leading to the move.
A statement from the business says: “The appointment of administrators provides some stability for CMS and enables the business to continue to trade, supporting both employees and customers.
“We’re working through our options and are considering the prospect of a sale process to protect the future of CMS.”
Fashion brand Thought Clothing has gone into administration after efforts to find a buyer for the business proved unsuccessful.
The firm will continue while in administration but 25 positions in non-trading roles have been made redundant.
The brand first launched in 2022 as Braintree Clothing before rebranding as Thought in 2016 and has its clothes stocked in stores such as John Lewis and Sainsburys as well as 20 other independent stores.
Owner and Co-founder John Snare said: “Despite our best efforts to secure the business, options became increasingly limited taking account of the current uncertain economic environment.
“Thought is continuing to trade while the joint administrators seek to sell the business and assets; several significant parties have already expressed interest in acquiring the business and assets”.
Popular ethical fashion brand People Tree has announced it is going into liquidation.
The brand, formed by Safia and James Minney with high profile clients including Emma Watson and Jo Wood, became an influential voice in UK fashion using organic materials and campaigning on better treatment for garment workers across the world.
But due to a deterioration in trading performance, it has informed its creditors that it cannot meet its debts and the UK company will be liquidated in the coming days and weeks. Its Japanese and European arms will continue to operate.
Founded in 1991 in Tokyo as Global Village, it was launched as People Tree in the UK in the 2000s collaborating with designers such as Orla Kiely and Vivienne Westwood.
Chief executive James Minney said: “I am extremely sad at this situation. Our customers and our wholesale stockists have been and always will be the absolute rock of support for People Tree.
“Our suppliers and creditors, with whom we have been in close discussions throughout this difficult time, have been supportive throughout our journey.
“The basic mission of fair trade, whether fashion or other goods, of honouring people’s traditions, hand skills, and the love they pour into the products, and creating sustainable market access, was and is paramount, even though we cannot continue our business in the UK.”
The oldest casino in the UK has begun a 30 day consultation with staff as it makes a final decision on whether to remain open.
Crockfords Casino in Mayfair was established in 1828 by William Crockford. It has remained operating until now but is facing closure due to a downturn in attendance from high-end tourists and gamblers.
The Covid pandemic saw a significant slowdown in their operations and a potential “tourist tax” is considered responsible for further deterring affluent visitors from visiting the city and the venue. The elimination of VAT-free shopping for tourists in 2021 following Brexit was one blow as was a 2020 decision by the UK Gambling Commission banning the use of credit cards for gambling transactions.
Crockfords would be the third major gambling venue to close in London in recent years if it goes ahead following the Ritz Club and the Clermont both closing in recent years.
Allma Constrcution/Centre Plant/Logie Glazing
Two Glasgow construction companies have gone into liquidation with the loss of 188 positions.
Allma Construction and Centre Plant both operated from Barrhead and cite the decision on cash flow problems caused by a downturn in the housebuilding industry.
Allma Construction supplied specialist groundwork services since its founding in 1991 with Centre Plant Ltd, its sister company, providing haulage services and leasing plant and machinery.
They join Logie Glazing and Building Services of Dundee which also announced its closure this week.
The firm worked on several private and public sector projects in Angus and Fife but had recently suffered the effects of cost inflation which is prevalent across the construction sector, squeezing profit margins and cash.
A statement from the business said: “While the directors sought to identify alternative sources of finance, no solution was obtained to resolve the company’s constrained cash position. Accordingly the decision was taken to appoint administrators.
“Logie Glazing was a very well-established business which, like many in the sector and despite the director’s best efforts, was unable to withstand what continues to be a very challenging trading environment.
Mar Hall Hotel
A luxury Golf Spa and Resort near Glasgow has gone into administration.
The Mar Hall Hotel which dates from 1826 continues to trade but is up for sale. It relaunched after a restoration in 2004 as a 65 bedroom hotel and conference venue with two restaurants and an 18 hole golf course.
The venue hosts up to 90 weddings per year and has planning permission for 80 further bedrooms and another 20 lodges within the grounds.
Patty & Bun
A London-based burger chain has had its proposal to enter a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) approved by its creditors.
Patty & Bun will continue to trade and repay its existing arrears over an extended period and in return a proportion of this accumulated debt will be written off approximately 71p in the pound to unsecured, non-preferential creditors.
According to recent filings, Patty & Bun also owe £1.4 million of their total £1.7 million debt to HMRC.
The chain has nine dedicated outlets in London along with two concessions within Swingers. They closed their Portobello Road location earlier in the year.
A London architectural practice has gone into administration four months after winning a RIBA South East award.
pH+, Building Design’s 2018 Housing Architect of the Year said it had been forced into the decision by cancelled projects and a squeeze on fees “fuelled by a culture of undercutting”.
Founded in 2005, the majority of the company’s work was in the residential sector but also designed mixed-use, office and education schemes.
A statement from the business said the practice had been put under pressure in recent years by economic uncertainty and inflation.
“Rising build costs and decreasing resale values have squeezed project viability making it difficult for clients to sell the potential of projects to their increasingly cautious investors.
“Ultimately the business was unable to continue as projects were paused and then cancelled, invoices remained unpaid and fees were continually undercut.
“Architecture firms with a weakened balance sheet post covid are operating in a very tough trading environment. Despite a rich trading history with many successes, for Ph+ a combination of bad debts and the uncertainty of future work meant the director had no option but to place the company into a creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL).”
Steve Porter Group/KNP Group
The parent company of two large haulage and transportation providers has announced they have gone into administration.
KNP Logistics controls Steve Porter Haulage which is based in the Isle of Wight and is the Island’s largest transporter of commercial goods and is one of the companies that has been affected.
Nelson Distribution was another business owned by KNP but has been purchased by Kinaxia Logistics which secures 170 positions and ensures no interruption of service.
The other business affected by the administration would be Knights Of Old with the combined loss of 730 positions.
Further details are emerging that the company was victim of a ransomware attack in June which contributed to the administration.
A statement from the business said: “Against a backdrop of challenging market conditions and without being able to secure urgent investment due to the attack, the business was unable to continue.
“The major ransomware attack affected all key systems, processes and financial information. This adversely impacted on the financial position of the group and ultimately its ability to secure additional investment and funding.”
Triple Two Coffee
A coffee franchise business operating in 11 sites across the South East and South West of England and Wales is going into administration.
Triple 2 Coffee was launched in Swindon in 2016 and prior to the pandemic had been experiencing strong growth.
A statement issued by Cooks Coffee Company, the owners of the brand, said: “Triple Two was growing rapidly before the pandemic and had shown continuing momentum in 2022.
“However in recent times, this momentum has not been able to be maintained and the business has been adversely impacted by the current market environment. As a result we will shortly appoint administrators to place Triple Two into an insolvency process.”
A video platform launched in Edinburgh in 2018 to transform the sports broadcasting landscape has gone into administration with the loss of 42 positions.
Recast Sports ran an on-demand streaming platform that partnered with some big names including Manchester City, Inter Milan and automotive content creator Seen Through Glass to deliver non-subscription alternatives to watching official live and on-demand content.
Despite several funding rounds, the business faced significant cash flow challenges and after assessing options including the sale of the business, directors were unable to find a solvent outcome and decided to appoint administrators.
A statement from the business said the situation was devastating for everyone at Recast.
“While we’ve enjoyed many successes over the years, our recent traction particularly highlights how the sports and entertainment landscape so desperately needs an alternative content monetisation solution like Recast’s.
“It’s a sad day for all but we’re grateful for all those who shared and supported our vision and journey.”
A Belfast-based logistics operator with facilities in Rotherham, Warwickshire and County Antrim has gone into administration.
The company mainly provides fulfilment of e-commerce deliveries but following the administration, the business has ceased operations with immediate effect and the loss of 54 positions.
Like many logistics businesses, Selazar has struggled with inflation across its cost base and mounting competition in their market. These have led to increasing liquidity and cash flow challenges.
The group’s assets including intellectual property and trading platforms have been sold to the Petra Group.
Directors sought options but could find no viable solvent solution so appointed administrators.
A statement from the business said: “The logistics and e-fulfilment sector is currently experiencing a number of headwinds including rising costs and softening demand in the wake of fragile consumer confidence.”
Lloyd Fraser Group/Close Brothers
It was announced that Birmingham based logistics firm, The Lloyd Fraser Group, had filed a notice of administration with 500 positions under threat.
The group provides a range of logistics solutions and supply chain management services heavily to the milk and fashion industries with contracts for delivery between most major dairy processors in the UK – Arla, Muller and Meadow Foods.
They supply these across its parent company Barbican Capital, and five subsidiaries based in 16 UK locations including Bristol, Chester, Rugby and Holmfirth.
After the announcement was made public, the parent company Barbican Capital claimed that the business was “incorrectly” placed into administration and said they would be seeking financial compensation as a result.
A statement from Barbican Capital said: “We are appalled by the incorrect decision to seek administration which has led to our group of companies unnecessarily losing related licences required to meet our customers’ needs.
“Our immediate priority is to ensure that our employees and customers are impacted as little as possible from their actions. Once we have done so, we will look to seek compensation for the material losses that have been caused to the Lloyd Fraser group being unnecessarily put into administration.”
“The actions of Close Brothers have had a major impact on the supply of milk in the UK as well as the fashion industry. Without warning our employees and customers have seen their employers and suppliers – each a viable business – closed quite literally overnight due to the unnecessary and irresponsible actions of Close Brothers despite the solvency of the companies.”
They claim the move was “debanking on a terrifying scale” and would also negatively impact hundreds of dairy farmers, blaming flaws with Close’s client interface portal which has caused them huge financial issues and underfunded the business as a result.
“On identifying these problems Lloyd Fraser understandably looked to replace Close as our banking partner. This was communicated to Close and an orderly handover was agreed for the end of September. As part of this transition, any monies owed to Close by any Lloyd Fraser company would be discharged in full on or around 29 September 2023.
“However, on 1 September without warning and in breach of the agreement to migrate our business away from Close, they refused to operate our facility as normal. This subsequently led to the Lloyd Fraser group companies being put into administration quite literally overnight.
“With all these factors in mind we have engaged a legal team to fight this administration and seek justice of the actions of Close”.
Chwarae Tag (Fair Play)
A gender equality charity in Wales has announced it will close after a “perfect storm of financial challenges”.
The board of Chwarae Teg, which means “Fair Play” in English, announced the closure following an unsuccessful bid for a financial rescue package from the Welsh government.
Founded in 1992, the charity has been working to make sure women in Wales can “enter the workplace, develop their skills and build rewarding careers.”
In a statement chair Sharon Williams said: “In order to do the right thing for our staff, clients and other stakeholders, controlled closure is now our only viable option.
“We recognise this is desperately sad news for our staff, funders and clients – but above all for the women of Wales who we have been so proud to serve over so many years.”
Additionally the commercial arm of the charity FairPlay Trading, which was set up in 2019, will also be placed into liquidation.
A Welsh government spokesperson said they were disappointed to hear of Chwarae Teg’s closure.
“The charity has touched the lives of women across Wales, given them a voice and provided the Welsh government with the insight and evidence to make strides to deliver real change.”
GH Porter Provisions
One of the oldest butchers in the country has announced its closure.
GH Porter Provisions of Newark have been trading continuously from the same site since 1893 but announced that they could not continue as they had “simply run out of money.”
A statement from owner Tom Blakemore said trade had fallen in the last year as customers adjusted to the cost of living crisis and that a spate of prominent business closures in the town had added to the uncertainty.
He said: “We are all aware of the huge challenges the country faces and sadly GH Porters is not immune.
“At one point, our energy bills rose from £600 per month to £3,000 and while they have slipped back, we are still paying 150% more than we did 18 months ago.
“Input costs of raw materials such as pork, beef and cheese have increased by as much as 60%. We’ve found it hard to pass these increases on to our customers meaning margins have been squeezed at a time when other costs are rising too.”
Despite making efforts to change the business and open an online component, it wasn’t enough to save the institution.
As we enter October and the start of the critical last quarter of the month, it’s important to make sure that your business is in the best possible shape to push on.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re prepared is to arrange a free consultation with one of our team of advisors whenever it’s most convenient for you.
They’ll be able to explain and explore all the options available to you and how to implement them most efficiently and effectively.
And the sooner you get in touch, the sooner you can begin!