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News | Published February 15 2019

Land of Beds and E5 Bakehouse reflect on the retail sector after Patisserie Valerie announce MBO

It was announced yesterday morning that Patisserie Valerie were to be rescued from administration by Irish investment firm Causeway Capital in a deal worth £13 million – a shadow of the chain's former net worth. In response, upcoming Parliamentary Review representatives Land of Beds and E5 Bakehouse discuss the future of British retail.

The scandal has been ongoing since October last year, when the company's finance director, Chris Marsh, was arrested and subsequently released on bail.

It has since been announced that two "unauthorised and unreported overdrafts" of almost £10 million were subsequently discovered. 

Patisserie Valerie went into administration on January 22, 2019, and 70 of its then-200 stores were immediately closed and 920 jobs were lost.

The Causeway Capital buyout, negotiated with Patisserie Valerie's administrator KPMG, will keep 96 shops open and save almost 2,000 jobs.

The company's chief executive, Steve Francis, believes that the MBO will bring an end to a "disruptive period of uncertainty" and hopefully lead to an "exciting future".

Marsh and Patisserie Valerie remain a subject of investigation for the Serious Fraud Office, as do former auditors Grant Thornton.

Mike Murray, managing director of upcoming Parliamentary Review  representative and leading UK independent bed and mattress retailer Land of Beds, believes that structure and vigilance are key when it comes to remaining positive about the future of the British high street.

"For all intents and purposes, it looks like Patisserie Valerie is a good business that has suffered from bad practice. 

"The rescue plan will surely bring hope to the 2,000 people who work there, as well as those of us who are choosing to be positive about the future of the retail sector.

“It would be a shame to lose another business from the British High Street that can trace its roots back for nearly a century. Our own experience as a heritage brand has taught us that you need a solid management team in place if you want to endure for any length of time."

Director of Hackney-based artisan bakery E5 Bakehouse, Ben Mackinnon, told The Parliamentary Review how important he believes small business is for the health of the high street going forwards: "Customers are becoming increasingly conscious about what they choose to spend their money on. 

"They often want to support small independent businesses because, by doing, so the money they spend stays within that same community, supporting individuals rather than larger corporations.

"Shorter supply chains are more economically beneficial to the individuals and companies involved than large operators who buy in massive volume. Customers recognise this, enjoy being part of that exchange and using their spending power to enact change socially and environmentally."

Authored by

Ross Hindle
Senior Editor
@theparlreview
February 15 2019

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