New High Street casualty as Moorfields appointed jewellery chain Administrators
Unforgiving trading conditions on the UK high street have taken their toll on yet another old-established national retail chain.
Stores forming part of the ‘HPJ’ and ‘Jewel Nation’ chains are affected after leading discount jewellers Gemstone Retail Limited and Gemstone Operations Limited were placed into Administration on 8 December 2011.
Simon Thomas and Robert Pick, of Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP, have been appointed as Joint Administrators.
“It is regrettable to see familiar retail names fall victim to the current conditions”, said Joint Administrator Simon Thomas of Moorfields. “It appears every responsible step was taken to rationalise the business and protect jobs, but Moorfields’ priority now is to protect the interests of creditors by trading the business in Administration to realise its assets.”
The stores will trade in this way throughout the Christmas period, allowing the value of the gift-oriented stock to be maximised.
Turnover 10% below budget scuppers rescue plan
78 HPJ and Jewel Nation stores were purchased in February this year from previous Administrator KPMG by retail turnaround specialist Gordon Brothers Europe.
Despite a restructure that included store closures, stock clearance sales and other cost saving measures and significant operational improvements, the businesses continued to experience financial difficulty with turnover 10% below budget.
A Notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator was filed on 17 November 2011, and a campaign set in motion to try to sell the business and assets as a going concern. Indicative offers were received for the business but final offers failed to promise creditors a better return than realisation of the assets, leading to the 8 December announcement.
Moorfields still keen to find buyer
“We are continuing to explore the possibility of a sale of the business and assets,” said Robert Pick of Moorfields. “The business may yet prove an opportunity for the right buyer.”
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Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP is one of the UK's leading independent firms of restructuring and insolvency specialists.