KPMG Restructures HPJ Retailing

Lucas Gilmore, “Big 4″ observer
February 05, 2011 /

Jewelry firm HPJ Retailing based in Stoke on Trent has been sold out by KPMG administrators to two new companies owned by Gordon Brothers, an advisory and investment firm focusing on retail and wholesale sector.

HPJ Retailing Ltd and its sister firm Family Jewels Ltd have called in administrators from KPMG when the business had been losing revenue due to increased competition with non-traditional jewelry retailers and fashion stores. The administrators also pointed to the worse sales during the Yuletide season last year, with the snow hampering the trade of most retailers in the high streets.

Last month, Deloitte also said it was having a difficult time reading the Christmas trading statements of many retailers that were severely hit by the weather in December.

Strategic Retail Adviser at Deloitte Richard Hyman said the bad weather last month had forced consumers to content themselves with online shopping and stores located near their residential areas, leaving those in the high streets with scarce visitors. Hyman added their estimation was that approximately “£750m of retail spend was taken out of the market as a result of the snow.”

KPMG has sold HPJ Retailing to Gemstone Retail Ltd and Gemstone Operations Ltd, firms bought by Gordon Brothers in December. Although the restructuring has saved 329 jobs, 173 employees were made redundant. In its headquarters at Congleton, Cheshire, 22 staff were sent home jobless.

HPJ Retailing had been operating 78 shops, 26 of which have already been closed. Only 52 are covered by the sale, which will continue trading under the current brand.

Commenting on the restructuring of HPJ, Paul Flint, joint administrator and KPMG Restructuring Associate Partner, 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.”


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