Prince Charles forced to close veg shop

Prince Charles

The tough economic climate has taken its toll on all of us - but who would have thought it would hit Prince Charles? His office has announced that his organic vegetable shop near Highgrove will close after eight years - because of falling trade and rising prices.

He may be a shocking casualty of the recession, but he's not the only famous face suffering in the downturn.

Prince Charles

The Veg Shed announced its closure on its website. It will continue making organic veg box home deliveries. However, these too have been suspended temporarily because the terrible weather has meant a poor harvest so far this year.

It said: "This has been a difficult decision for us to take, and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience this will cause and would like to thank all our customers for their valued support and custom."

A spokesperson for Clarence House told the Guardian that the shop had stopped trading as it was no longer making a profit, while another told Reuters it had been hit by those ordering their shopping online.

Clearly Charles is going to be able to struggle on financially. This is hardly his only source of income: it's not even his only shop. Never-the-less, it's strange to see the Prince of Wales as a victim of the recession.

Famous faces

And he is not the only famous face to have taken a hit.

There are the high-profile stars who have been declared bankrupt as the recession stretched on - including Martine McCutcheon, Kerry Katona and Miquita Oliver.

Meanwhile, the High Street has been strewn with household names which have been decimated by the recession. The likes of Woolworths, Blockbuster and HMV may go on in another guise, but their fall from grace has been dramatic and shocking.

Celebrity chefs have also been notable casualties - including Anthony Worrall Thompson who closed four restaurants after an overdraft extension was refused and Jean Christophe Novelli who placed two gastro-pubs in administration.

And construction and real estate companies have been closing like topsy. One famous face who was involved was Shane Filan, Westlife star. He ran a property business in Ireland, but the economic crisis brought the business into financial trouble and he was declared bankrupt at the age of 32 - on the eve of his farewell tour.

It seems that no-one has been untouched by the financial climate. It seems that the only thing we are 'in together' is a heap of financial trouble...

High Street casualties
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Prince Charles forced to close veg shop

Administrators sounded the death knell for Woolworths in December 2008, leading to store closures that left 27,000 people out of work. Since its collapse former Woolworths stores have become a blight in many town centres and more than 100 of the large stores still lay vacant in January 2012.

Loyal customers didn't have go without the family favourite store for long however as it reappeared online as in 2009, after Shop Direct Home Shopping bought out the Woolworths name.

The greetings cards specialist became the latest highstreet casualty in May with 8,000 jobs on the line when it was forced it into administration. Its biggest supplier, American Greetings, then bought Clintons out of administration and put the retailer through a rebrand including a new logo and complete in-store revamps.

Its contemporary format includes new fixtures and fittings and easier to navigate stores, and will be rolled out to all 400 UK stores at the cost of £16million. Bosses aim to bring the brand back to profit within two years.

Poor sales in the run up to Christmas was the final nail in the coffin for several struggling chains, including lingerie retailer La Senza, which went bust in January 2012 with 146 shops and 2,600 staff. Kuwaiti retailer Alshaya bought part of the business, which saved 60 shops and 1,000 staff.

La Senza has been struggling in a similar way to other specialist shops such as Game and Mothercare, which have been hit by cut-price competition at supermarkets and have no alternative products to help shoulder losses.

Stricken retailer Blacks Leisure, which employed 3,600 staff across 98 Blacks stores and 208 Millets stores, went into administration in Janurary 2012 after failing to find an outright buyer.

Soon after its stores were bought by sportswear firm JD Sports in pre-pack deal - an insolvency procedure which sees a company being sold immediately after it has entered administration – which saw most of Blacks' £36 million of debt wiped out.

Fashion chain Bonmarche, which was part of the Peacock Group, was sold in January when the group collapsed due to unsustainable debts, resulting in 1,400 job losses and 160 store closures. Private equity firm Sun European Partners bought 230 stores, which continue to trade with 2,400 staff.

Peacocks collapsed under a £740 million net debt mountain in January 2012 in the biggest retail failure since Woolworths. Despite being sold out of administration to Edinburgh Woollen Mill in a deal that saved 380 stores and 6,000 jobs, administrators from KPMG were forced to close 224 stores with immediate effect. This lead to 3,350 redundancies from stores and Peacocks head office in Cardiff.

The high street name continues trading as bosses work to stabilise the situation, yet a further blow was dealt this month with news that the firm's pension fund is in £15.8 million shortfall as a result of the collapse.

Game buckled under its £85m debt pile in March 2012 and was placed into administration after being unable to pay a £21m rent bill. Administrator PwC immediately closed 277 shops, with the loss of 2,000 jobs. Soon after, investment firm, OpCapita bought 333 Game stores, saving more than 3,000 jobs.

Game's demise followed a string of profit warnings and the failure of nervous suppliers, including leading names Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to go on providing the latest games, further damaging poor sales.


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