1200 jobs at risk as Office Outlet falls into administration

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Office outlet
// Office Outlet appoints Deloitte as administrators
// 1200 jobs and 90 stores at risk of being lost
// Office Outlet’s collapse comes after a CVA was launched in the latter half of 2018

The future of 1200 jobs at Office Outlet has been plunged into uncertainty as the retailer fell into administration.

Partners at Deloitte were appointed joint administrators yesterday.

All 90 of Office Outlet’s stores will continue trading while the business is marketed to potential new owners.

“In addition to a general downturn in trading as a result of the ongoing decline in the stationery market and UK retail in general, the company has recently experienced a reduction in credit from key suppliers, given the economic outlook which has severely impacted the financial position of the company,” joint administrator Richard Haws said.

“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.”

The news comes after Office Outlet launched a CVA last August, which saw a handful of store shut down as well as three years of free rent on 20 others.

However, the CVA failed to save the retailer, which has reportedly had trouble scraping together rent for its estate of more than 90 stores ahead of the due date on Friday.

US-based stationery giant Staples agreed to sell its UK shops to Hilco Capital, the former owner of HMV, in late 2016.

The stores were then renamed Office Outlet, while a separate online business continues to operate separately and independently in the UK under the name Staples.

Office Outlet chief executive Chris Yates said: “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.

“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.”

Office Outlet’s collapse is another disappointment for Hilco, after the investment firm was forced to place HMV into administration late last year.

The music retailer was eventually sold to Canadian music business Sunrise Records, resulting in the closure of 27 locations including the original Oxford Street branch.

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