Alfred Terry Limited enters voluntary liquidation

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CEO Steve Wright says business will return "leaner and more positive".

Bridal and diamond jewellery brand Alfred Terry Limited has entered voluntary liquidation in a bid, according to the company, to relaunch as a leaner, fresher business.

The company’s chief executive Steve Wright told Professional Jeweller that the decision to liquidate the Gitanjali-owned company was his own, and follows a tough period of trading in 2013.

The business has now gone into voluntary liquidation, meaning Alfred Terry Limited has ceased to exist and its assets will be liquidated to pay off its creditors.

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At the time of the announcement on November 1, Wright said the business would undergo a pre-packed administration, though this point has since been clarified, and the business is instead in liquidation.

It is understood that Alfred Terry has been struggling for some time with liabilities dating back several years, and this had put a strain on trading throughout 2013. There were plans to liquidate the business before the company was bought by Gitanjali in October 2011, but Gitanjali instead decided to give the business another chance.

Wright said: "The decision to liquidate Alfred Terry Limited has been all my own. Sales in the UK are tough and while the international business is OK, I was not confident with promising retailers goods this time of year, which we might not be able to deliver. It has put us in a position where we cannot take orders and naturally that places strain on cash flow.

"If we had carried on in the current model, it was never going to work. We all know what the business model needs to be for Alfred Terry, and there is finally a chance to do it."

There are now plans in place to relaunch the business as Alfred Terry UK, operating out of a smaller office in London’s Hatton Garden.

"We have some big liabilities that we have been anchored with for many years now, and they were not helping the business to grow, so by putting us into liquidation we can leave those behind," Wright said. "The new Alfred Terry will be based in a small office in Hatton Garden, and will operate as a leaner, more positive business going forward."

The announcement follows the sending of creditors letters to those businesses working with Alfred Terry. The company’s staff were notified on October 31 about the situation, and the business is said to be working with them on their plans going forward.

Alfred Terry was founded in 1909 and is known for its selection of fine bridal and diamond jewellery. The business was bought by Indian jewellery giant Gitanjali Group in October 2011, with intentions to diversify the business. This has included the addition of several high-end Italian fine jewellery brands and Canadian diamond brand Canadia.

The new Alfred Terry UK business will remain part of Gitanjali but will be self sufficient and not reliant on the group. It is also understood that the company will also continue to work with its selection of Italian jewellery brands, though any planned mergers with the company and those brands have been put on hold for the time being.

Wright told Professional Jeweller that he plans to travel to India and Thailand to source new product in early 2014, enabling the company to relaunch with new collections.

There is also the possibility that Alfred Terry will be rebranded with a new brand name and new style in 2014, though this is yet to be confirmed and will likely be reviewed in the next six months.

Wright will meet with creditors on November 8, where plans will be made for the next step for the business, after which the new Alfred Terry UK will be officially launched.

UPDATE: This story was updated on November 6 2013 to reflect the statement released by Alfred Terry on November 5, outlining that the business is now in voluntary liquidation, and not a pre-packed administration as was originally stated.
 

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