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Wales Online
Wales Online
Jon Robinson & Erin Santillo

Studio Retail Group: 1,400 jobs at risk as online retailer appoints administrators

Around 1,400 jobs are at risk after an online retailer formally appointed administrators.

Studio Retail Group – whose largest shareholder is Mike Ashley's Frasers Group – has appointed Teneo to handle its affairs.

The Lancashire-based listed company, formerly known as Findel, issued a profit warning at the end of January, BusinessLive reports.

It then suspended its shares on February 14 and signalled its intention to appoint administrators after failing to secure a short-term £25 million bank loan.

Studio started out as a catalogue retailer focused on gifts but has expanded dramatically online and now also sells clothes, home and electrical products.

It has around 2.5 million customers and made £578.6m in sales during the last financial year.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Studio said: "The company announces the appointment of Daniel Francis Butters and Daniel James Mark Smith of Teneo Financial Advisory Limited as joint administrators.

"The administrators are currently in advanced discussions in relation to an accelerated M&A [mergers and acquisitions] process for the business and assets of the company, including in relation to the company's main operating company, Studio Retail Limited.

"For the avoidance of doubt, Studio Retail Limited is not in administration. A further update will be provided in due course."

It added: "In light of the administration, the administrators have applied for the cancellation of the listing of the company's shares on the premium segment of the Official List and cancellation of the trading of the company's shares on the main market for listed securities maintained by the London Stock Exchange, which are both expected to take place at 8:00am on 25 February 2022."

Studio's shares plunged by more than 35% in January after announcing its adjusted pre-tax profits for the full financial year would not likely be between £28m and £30m, down from the market expectation of £35m.

The group said demand in the early weeks of the year had been "relatively subdued, with some margin erosion as we cleared some seasonal stock that could not be carried forward".

It said that this had been partially mitigated through the bad debt performance, which was better than expected particularly due to improvements in the recovery rates achieved on defaulted debts.

The company announced last week that it had been unable to reach an agreement for a £25 million loan following "detailed discussions" with its lenders.

"The board therefore now intends to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators to SRG and Studio Retail Limited, its wholly owned subsidiary, as soon as reasonably practicable", it said.

"The board is taking this action to protect the interests of its creditors."

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