Yorkshire butcher chain Crawshaw appoints EY for administration

08 November 2018 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read

Crawshaw Group has confirmed the appointment of administrators, as the UK meat retailer said in late October that it did not have sufficient cash to restructure. Two professionals from EY will now look for potential buyers, with more than 200 jobs still on the line.

The Rotherham-based Crawshaw Group is a butchers chain, which for the past 60 years has been servicing customers across the UK. The company, which was until recently engaged in a rapid expansion programme, was well on the way to achieving a target of 200 stores nationwide before news broke that Crawshaw had collapsed into administration. The move saw 354 jobs lost already, as it shut 35 of its existing locations.

The company not only joins a growing list of British retailers that have been forced to seek protection from creditors via administration, but also becomes the second member of the meat industry in a month to do so. Further up the supply chain, chicken farming company Banham Poultry was forced to seek buyers, after similarly being hit hard by competition from online shopping platforms and a rise in costs from the pound's Brexit-induced weakness. At the same time, traditional meat retailers have been forced to slash prices by discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, in order to retain business. 

Yorkshire butcher chain Crawshaw appoints EY for administration

According to reports first circulated by Reuters, Crawshaw reported a double-digit drop in like-for-like sales in September 2018, flagging up increasing pressure in the UK high street in the process. At the time, Crawshaw brought in a new Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer to revive its struggling business, even considering actions including raising additional funding through an equity issue after reviewing its structure and investment in high street locations but to no avail. Shares plunged 80% this year, before being suspended from trading.

Some 261 people are still in the employ of the company, as it continues to run its 19 open stores along with a trial of three butcher’s counters in Spar stores, but these will also be jeopardised if a buyer cannot be found for Crawshaw’s assets. Overseeing the process of a prospective sale of the business, Robert Hunter Kelly and Charles Graham John King have been appointed as joint administrators. The duo from Big Four firm EY have reportedly entered into discussions with interested parties with a view to agreeing a sale over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the company has also announced that Stephen Henderson has stepped down as a Non-executive Director, retiring from the Crawshaw Board with immediate effect. Group chairman Jim McCarthy said, “The board and I would like to thank Stephen for his support and wise counsel to Crawshaw since his appointment last year. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”