HPJ and Jewel Nation in second administration sale

Retailer suffers second set back as turnover falls 10% below budget.

Unforgiving trading conditions are being blamed for Half Price Jewellers (HPJ) and Jewel Nation falling into administration for the second time this year.

Stores forming part of the HPJ and Jewel Nation chains have been affected after leading discount jewellers Gemstone Retail Limited and Gemstone Operations Limited were placed into administration on December 8.

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It followed the acquisition of 78 HPJ and Jewel Nation stores in February this year from previous administrator KPMG by retail turnaround specialist Gordon Brothers Europe. Despite restructuring the business in a bid to move it out of financial difficulty, turnover is said to have been 10% below budget.

The stores will continue to trade over Christmas to ensure they can maximise on selling gift-oriented stock.

A Notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator was filed on November 17 this year and a campaign set in motion to try to sell the business and its assets.

Despite indicative offers for the business, final offers failed to promise creditors a better return than realisation. This has led to the most recent announcement that the company will once again go into administration.

Moorfield Corporate Recover has taken on the retailers, with Simon Thomas and Robert Pick announced as join adminitators. They are still keen to find buyer for the business.

“It is regrettable to see familiar retail names fall victim to the current conditions”, said Thomas.

“It appears every responsible step was taken to rationalise the business and protect jobs, but Moorfields’ priority now is to protect the interests of creditors by trading the business in Administration to realise its assets.”

Pick says Moorfields, a UK firm that specialises in restructuring and insolvency, will continue to focus on possible sales.

“The business may yet prove an opportunity for the right buyer,” he said.

HPJ is currently holding a clearance sale, according to its website, which guides customers to search for their nearest HPJ or Jewel Nation store.




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