Past Times announces administration

RETRO-themed gift retailer Past Times revealed it has gone into administration.

Howard Smith, Mark Firmin and Joff Pope of KPMG’s Restructuring practice were appointed joint administrators to gift retailer Past Times today (Monday January 16).

The loss making high street business, with a store in Horsham town centre’s Swan Walk shopping centre, is a casualty of difficult trading conditions for the retail sector, which has seen discretionary spend fall as consumer confidence declined during the last year.

Prior to the appointment of administrators, the company closed 46 stores resulting in 507 redundancies, as well as completing the planned closures of 72 pop up temporary stores.

The remaining business, comprising 51 stores and 500 employees is continuing to trade under the control of the administrators in the short term. There will be an orderly wind down in the event a going concern sale cannot be concluded.

Whilst the business continues to trade as a going concern employee numbers are being reduced with 67 redundancies made on appointment, comprising 30 from the Past Times head office in Witney, Oxfordshire and 37 from its warehouse, leaving a central workforce of 31.

The remaining stores will enter closing down mode on a nationwide basis where consumers will find significantly discounted stock.

Meanwhile, the joint administrators of the Barratts Priceless Group, also with a store in Swan Walk,announced that they have been successful in finding a buyer of the business and the majority of its assets yesterday (Sunday January 15).

The deal to the existing management team will ensure that the Barratts and Priceless brands and the online business will continue to trade.

The sale will include 89 stores and has safeguarded 1,184 jobs. But the deal will result in the closure of 39 stores and 14 concessions and 680 additional redundancies.

Daniel Butters, joint administrator and partner in Deloitte’s restructuring services practice, said: “We are delighted to have negotiated a deal, which will secure the employment of over 1,100 employees and ensure the Barratts and Priceless brands continue, especially given the adversity which has beset the High Street over recent months.”