Pure Collection appoints administrators from KPMG

14 February 2020 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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KPMG professionals Howard Smith and Will Wright have been appointed joint administrators of cashmere brand Pure Collection. The news has resulted in 74 staff redundancies, and the administrators will now look to secure investment to protect the remainder of the business.

Volatile trading conditions, business uncertainty, and trading models in need of change are all putting huge pressure on companies’ abilities to survive. In the retail sector, 2019 saw Company Voluntary Arrangements trend down significantly, but this seems to have resulted in a dramatic spike in the number of administrations occurring in December – suggesting worse could still be to come in 2020. An early casualty of this seems to have been Pure Collection.

Launching in 2002, Harrogate-headquartered Pure Collection since became one of the world’s largest independent direct and online retailers of cashmere. According to the firm’s LinkedIn, until recently it sold over 700,000 pieces a year, with boutiques in Tunbridge Wells, York, Reigate, Guildford, Marlow, London, Chichester and within concessions in John Lewis stores. Following a sustained period of sluggish economic performance, however, the company has been placed into administration.

Pure Collection appoints administrators from KPMG

In 2018, Pure Collection agreed to a settlement with the US government totalling more than £647,500, when a whistle-blower claimed that the company was evading duties on goods shipped from the UK to customers in the US. Later that year, the firm’s latest published results showed Pure Collection swung to an operating loss of £658,771 for the 12 months to 31 August 2018, down from an operating profit of £151,519 in the previous year, while turnover shrank 7.7% to £35.5 million.

Now, administrators from KPMG will look to oversee a recovery operation for the company’s future. A source close to the story told fashion news outlet Drapers that KPMG is “obviously hoping to salvage something of the business,” however the Pure Collection brand faces a major challenge “of contemporary relevance” if that hope is to be realised.

Before the appointment of administrators, Pure Collection closed all eight of its stores, but continues to trade through its website. Following the arrival of Howard Smith and Will Wright as joint administrators, 74 of the business’ 205 employees have been made redundant, most of whom held roles in-store.

Smith said, “Pure Collection has long been held in high regard by British retailers and consumers alike, as shown by consistently strong sales. However, it continues to face the headwinds shared by many on the high street alongside the running of its ecommerce operations. We anticipate the company continuing to trade as normal through its website, in the coming months, as we look to secure new investment and protect the future of the business.”