HPJ Jewellers - Leading discount jewellery chain
The ‘HPJ’ and ‘Jewel Nation’ branded jewellery stores were purchased in February 2011 by retail specialist Gordon Brothers Europe.Despite an intensive restructure that included store closures, stock clearance sales, significant operational improvements, and other cost saving measures, the businesses continued to experience financial difficulty with turnover 10% below budget. As a result a marketing campaign was immediately undertaken to sell the business and assets.
Unfortunately no offers were received at a level sufficient to avoid an insolvency process. As a result Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP were appointed administrators on 8th December 2011.
On appointment Moorfields immediately undertook a review of the company’s affairs taking into account the businesses ongoing commitments and anticipated cash flow. As a result of the review it was determined that a return to creditors would be maximised should the business continue to trade through the run up to Christmas, where historically the business generated 30% of its sales.
Utilising our knowledge and experience of the retail sector, Moorfields determined that the optimal strategy was twofold, firstly to smelt a large proportion of the gold stock which generated significant cash without the operation costs and secondly to implement an aggressive sale strategy for the residual stock. In just over 2 weeks all stock had been sold and the 49 shops closed. Moorfields successfully avoided the 25th December quarter date and negotiated significant business rate agreements with landlords to reduce costs throughout the trading period.
The Gemstone case demonstrates how Moorfields retail expertise resulted in a greater realisation of assets in a very short timeframe for both the secured and unsecured creditors.
Gordon Brothers Europe had acquired HPJ (Half Price Jewellers) in Dec 2010, a UK discount chain of jewellers trading under the Gemstone Operations and Gemstone Retail companies. Despite a financial and operational restructure the business
continued to struggle in what were exceptionally tough trading conditions during 2011.
GBE approached Moorfields for help to find a solvent solution for the business and following an extensive search and process run by their corporate finance team it became clear insolvency could not be avoided.
At Moorfields Corporate Recovery you receive full partner support, service and engagement. Start to finish. Simon Thomas and his extremely able team planned and executed a thoroughly professional administration for all stakeholders.
Communication was excellent throughout and the Moorfields team worked seamlessly with the management and staff of Gemstone.There were no surprises.
The whole process was concluded quickly and distributions to creditors managed as fast as I have ever seen it achieved.
GBE would have no hesitation in both recommending Moorfields and from working with their very able team again in the future. Fraser Pearce , Gordon Brothers Europe