Private equity firm buys 52 most profitable shops saving 329 jobs.
Discount jewellery retailers HPJ Jewellers and Jewel Nation have been bought out of administration saving 329 jobs.
The business has been bought by two newly formed companies Gemstone Retail and Gemstone Operations owned by private equity firm Gordon Brothers. Gordon Brothers bought the business in December and have since been developing a restructuring programme for HPJ Jewellers and Jewel Nation to save the most profitable parts of the business while reducing debt.
Gordon Brothers has bought 52 of the discount chain’s 78 stores, saving 329 jobs. It has closed 26 of the chain’s less profitable stores and has already made the staff, which is said to be approximately 156 people, redundant and returned the leases to the landlords.
The shops bought by Gordon Brothers will continue to trade under HPJ and Jewel Nation fascias.
Fraser Pearce of Gordon Brothers said: “We are delighted that we have been able to restructure the business. The new, smaller business moves forward on a more positive footing. Through landlord support and reduced rent levels we have been able to protect 329 jobs across the 52 stores.”
The businesses are said to have been making a loss for some time as a result of increased competition from non-traditional jewellery retailers and fashion outlets. In addition, sales in the lead up to Christmas were significantly worse than forecast as the snowy weather compounded difficult high street conditions during a trading period that was critical to the business.
Paul Flint and Mark Firmin of KPMG has been appointed administrators to HPJ Retailing and Family Jewels, which traded under the fascias HPJ Jewellers and Jewel Nation.
Flint said: “In this challenging climate we are pleased to have agreed a sale of this long-established retailer which secures the jobs of the majority of the workforce and enables the business to continue trading from a number of high streets and shopping centres across the UK.”