Belfast escapes axe as Patisserie Valerie stores shut

Business as usual for remaining stores while search for a buyer continues
Business as usual for remaining stores while search for a buyer continues

Three Patisserie Valerie outlets in the province have escaped closure as adminstrators for the failing firm announced that a third of the firm’s stores are to close resulting in 920 redundancies.

The three Belfast shops at Castle Lane and Donegall Square West in the city centre and at Forestside shopping centre are not affected by the move to shut a total of 71 stores.

KPMG, which was appointed on Tuesday evening, said the number consists of 27 standalone stores, 19 Druckers outlets and 25 Patisserie Valerie concessions in Debenhams, Next and at motorway service areas. The company’s bakery in Spitalfields has also closed.

The remaining 122 outlets will continue to trade while the professional services firm seeks a buyer for the business.

David Costley-Wood, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “Since our appointment less than 24 hours ago, we have been pleased with the level of interest we have received in the business, and so remain hopeful of achieving a positive outcome.”

Prior to its collapse, the cake chain employed more than 3,000.

Patisserie Valerie said on Tuesday that discussions with its lenders HSBC and Barclays to extend a standstill agreement on its debts had failed, leaving it with no option but to call in corporate undertakers.

The cake firm’s parent company Patisserie Holdings has been grappling with the fallout of an accounting fraud since October.

It said that the extent of fraud meant it was unable to renew its bank loans and it did not have sufficient funding to continue trading.

Chairman Luke Johnson has extended an unsecured, interest-free loan to help ensure that the January wages are paid to all staff working in the ongoing business.