Ian Jones, the founder of jewellery chain Azendi which recently filed for administration, has released a statement thanking his staff for their hard work and customers for their support. He also highlighted some of the causes of the company’s demise.
Jones references the internet, increasing building rates and the recession as attributing to Azendi’s closure, but expresses thanks for the “great sacrifices” made by his store managers and staff to keep the business afloat.
He also reveals that he has secured the future of the Headingley store – the first opened by Jones in 1989 – and that five other stores will remain open including London Westfield, Leeds and Aberdeen.
Jewellery from the Azendi brand will continue to be sold through House of Fraser stores, and Jones says that more Azendi concessions will be rolled out across House of Fraser locations in the UK, bringing the concession number to 40.
The statement was released on Facebook and Twitter.
On the retailer’s Facebook page many fans expressed upset at the news. One user, Katie Courtney, said: “I'm so sorry to hear this. I worked at the Headingley branch between around 1999 and 2001 and have such fond memories of my time with Azendi. I'm pleased to hear about the expansion with House of Fraser though. Good luck with all you do in the future.”
A number of store managers also took to Facebook to thank staff and customers for their kind words having closed their stores yesterday. Cate Parker, store manager at Azendi’s Reading branch said: “We had some lovely comments in our customer book with good wishes that I have taken home with me to treasure. Will miss our loyal customers and the product but most importantly all my fab Azendi friends! Shame we couldn't make it work!”
However one Facebook user described Azendi jewellery as going out of reach due to price rises. Heather McAvan wrote: “Shocked and sad to read this. In truth though, I think Azendi has priced itself out of the market. I used to buy all my gifts and jewellery from Azendi but a few years ago noticed a steep price rise which made it unaffordable for me.”
The announcement that Azendi was going into administration was made by Adrian Berry and Daniel Butters earlier this month. The pair, partners at Deloitte, have been appointed joint administrators to Azendi Limited.
Ian Jones' statement on the closure of Azendi's stores:
Sadly, our stores in Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, York, Meadowhall, Milton Keynes, Richmond, Chelsea, Bristol, Bath, Reading, Leicester and Birmingham were closed today.
Despite the best efforts of the dedicated store managers and head office, the combined effects of the recession, the internet and increasing occupation costs meant that we lost the battle to keep the stores open through the recession.
I know that many store managers made great sacrifices to keep the stores afloat during the difficult trading period and put their strongest efforts into maintaining the brilliant service that their stores were recognised for.
Store managers have expressed to me how moved they have been by the kind words of the customers who have been into the stores since the company entered administration. And I'd like to thank the many people who have expressed kind words on Twitter and by email.
I have secured the future of the original Headingley store where the brand was founded and both that store and the website will continue to trade under the Azendi name but in a new company structure.
In addition I am aware that there may be an opportunity to revive other stores and give a long term [future] to the brand and the staff in those stores.
The stores that remain open now are Headingley, Leeds, Harrogate, Westfield London, Cambridge and Aberdeen.
All customers with issues about purchases should contact firstname.lastname@example.org where we will endeavour to rectify any faults, complaints or dissatisfactions.
As part of our ongoing relationship with House of Fraser, we are rolling out the brand to a further 10 house of Fraser jewellery departments bringing the total number of outlets to 40.
We are working closely with the House of Fraser jewellery department to broaden the range of Azendi jewellery stocked there.