Past Times goes into administration

Past Times shop frontGift retailer Past Times has fallen into administration and confirmed 507 staff were made redundant before the move.

The private equity-owned group, which last week shut 46 stores and 72 temporary stores, said KPMG had been appointed as administrator to the loss-making business following weak trade.
An additional 67 redundancies were 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 business, comprising 51 stores and 500 employees, is continuing to trade under the control of the administrators in the short term with an "orderly wind down" planned in the event a sale cannot be sealed.

Past Times made the announcement as clothing retailer Peacocks revealed it planned to appoint administrators to the business, raising doubt over the future of 11,000 positions.

Past Times is understood to have suffered over Christmas despite heavy discounting and its range of Downton Abbey-themed memorabilia.

The group sells a wide range of toys and gifts, including teddy bears, mugs, jigsaws and puzzles and stationery.

The group is owned by private equity firm Epic, which itself bought the chain out of administration in 2005.

Past Times is the latest in a long line of retailers to collapse into administration.

Outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure and lingerie chain La Senza were recently bought in a pre-pack administration deal, while Peacocks and Bonmarche will both appoint administrators in the next 10 days.
© 2012 Press Association
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