Sep 18, 2020
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Aspinal of London CVA to mean store closures

Sep 18, 2020

Aspinal of London is the latest British retailer to launch a CVA proposal as the effects of a pandemic have made its current business model unviable.

Aspinal of London

The company hasn't shared full details of the proposal although it's expected that job cuts are on the agenda as its directly operated UK stores are to be closed.

The company currently has a workforce of 300 and retails from 10 shops across the UK, as well as operating an online store. It also has concessions in upmarket department stores Harrods and Selfridges. The webstore and concessions are to continue.

Will Wright of KPMG is expected to handle the CVA. KPMG had been drafted in earlier this year to look at funding options for the company with a sale also seen as a possibility.

Wright said that “Covid-19 has presented a number of challenges for those operating in retail and the luxury goods sector, not least the impact of reduced footfall across high street stores”. He added that the CVA would give the firm “a platform from which it can refocus its business on its core online and premium concessions channels, providing a solid and sustainable grounding for the future”.

As with other such proposals, the company needs the support of 75% of its creditors in order to get its plan through.

There are no recent results available for the company with the latest that have been filed being for the year ending March 2019. But the company was loss-making, despite rising sales.

The nearly 20-year-old brand was founded by Iain Burton and had its roots in stationery but soon moved deeper into fashion via high-end travel and leathergoods. And naming Giles Deacon as its creative chief early last year added to that as it sought a direction that could drive profitable sales growth. A collection with brand ambassador David Gandy also intensified its fashion profile, as did the opening of a store on London’s Regent Street.

The company also traded on its very British heritage appeal and patronage from the Duchess of Cambridge helped raise its profile abroad in markets where ‘Britishness’ is a key selling point.

Last year Burton said that the brand has “a phenomenal international customer base in London of Chinese, Asians, American and Middle Eastern visitors and Aspinal is a brand that has huge appeal for global audiences”. But those International consumers (including the huge cohort of Chinese students who’ve flocked to Britain in recent years) aren’t currently visiting the UK and that has been a major blow to the company.

The firm has been opening locations abroad of late with stores in Shanghai, Dubai and Abu Dhabi and while its overseas shops will continue to operate, its plans to open more have been put on hold.

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