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Office Outlet enters administration

March 19, 2019

The office supplier, formerly part of the Staples brand, has collapsed following falling sales, in the midst of a bleak period for the British High Street.

According to The Guardian, 1,200 jobs are now at risk following the company’s decision to call in the administrators.

The news, which is likely to affect all 90 of the company’s stores, comes months after Office Outlet revealed it was launching a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), in which it closed a number of branches, as well as seeking “rent-free periods from landlords.”

Chief Executive Chris Yates said that the CVA had achieved minor success, in reducing the company’s losses, but that Office Outlet had not succeeded in securing the extra funds required to financially proceed with the next stage of the overhaul.

“Over the last two years the business has been transformed from the heavily loss-making old Staples business to a near break even modern multichannel retailer,” Yates explained to the BBC. “However, additional growth capital was required to continue delivery of the next stage of the management buyout business plan. Despite being highly impressed by the Office Outlet story potential investors have held back due to retail sector sentiment and the general level of uncertainty.”

The company’s administrators have now been named as Richard Michael Hawes and Daniel Francis Butters, of business services firm Deloitte. Hawes said that Office Outlet’s woes were down to a combination of falling stationery sales, as well as a “wider malaise” affecting many High Street chains in the UK.

Office Outlet also suffered a reduction in credit from its suppliers, which Hawes said had “severely impacted” the company’s financial position.

 “We are hopeful a buyer can still be found for the business in the coming weeks and we will continue to trade the business with that aim in mind,” Hawes further confirmed.

The chain was formerly under the umbrella of Staples’ UK operations, but was sold off by its parent company back in 2016, and acquired for a nominal sum by restructuring firm Hilco, which also owned music and entertainment retailer HMV prior to that company’s own collapse last year.



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