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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Jon Robinson

Studio Retail Group set to call in administrators after £25m funding bid fails

Studio Retail Group, the online trader whose largest shareholder is Mike Ashley's Frasers Group, is set to call in the administrators.

The Lancashire-headquartered listed company has made the move after warning its profits are set to be lower than market expectations and is to raise its prices.

In a statement issued at the end of January, the business said its adjusted pre-tax profits for its full financial year are not likely to be between £28m and £30m, down from the current market expectation of £35m.

READ MORE: Shares plunge at Studio Retail Group after profits warning and prices hike

Following the update the group's share price slumped by more than 35%.

In a new statement, the company said it had requested a short-term loan of £25m from its lending banks to fund surplus stockholding which it "believed was sufficient to enable it to sell through the stock to customers".

The statement added: "Following detailed discussions with our UK lenders, the company has not been able to reach agreement with them to provide the additional funding Studio requires.

"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.

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

"Following consultation with the FCA, the company has requested that the listing of the company's ordinary shares of 10 pence each be temporarily suspended with effect from 7.30 a.m. on 14 February 2022.

"Further announcements will be made as appropriate."

At the end of January, the group said demand in the early weeks of January has 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 started life as a catalogue retailer focused on gifts but has expanded dramatically online and now also sells clothes, home and electrical products on flexible payment terms.

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

The group's biggest shareholder is retail veteran Mike Ashley's Frasers Group, which holds a stake of around 29%.

The tycoon attempted a takeover of the business in 2019 but saw his 161p-per-share offer rebuffed.

Studio's shares were trading at 115p before they were suspended.

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