Deloitte looks at administration way out for Office Outlet

Restructuring partners at Deloitte have been appointed as joint administrators to SUK Retail Ltd t/a Office Outlet, a major multichannel retailer of office supplies, business technology, and copy and print services to businesses, homes and schools, which has collapsed putting over 1,000 jobs at risk

The company, whose stores were previously known as Staples, has over 90 stores nationwide, and around 1,200 employees. The business is now being marketed for sale and the stores will keep trading whilst a buyer is sought.

Richard Hawes, Deloitte partner and joint administrator, said: ‘In addition to a general downturn in trading as a result of the ongoing decline in the stationery market and UK retail in general, the company has recently experienced a reduction in credit from key suppliers, given the economic outlook which has severely impacted the financial position of the company.

‘We are hopeful a buyer can still be found for the business in the coming weeks and we will continue to trade the business with that aim in mind.’

Chris Yates, Office Outlets CEO, said: ‘Over the last two years the business has been transformed from the heavily loss-making old Staples business to a near breakeven modern multichannel retailer.

‘However, additional growth capital was required to continue delivery of the next stage of the management buyout business plan.

‘Despite being highly impressed by the Office Outlet story potential investors have held back due to retail sector sentiment and the general level of uncertainty’.

Office Outlet is part-owned by Hilco, which bought the UK stores of US-chain Staples in 2016, renaming it Office Outlet. The retailer has no connection to the online-only business which trades under the Staples UK name

News of Office Outlet’s difficulties comes two weeks after stationery retailer Paperchase announced it had brought in KPMG to assist with a proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which would include rent reductions at many of its stores and the possible closure of some outlets.

Report by Pat Sweet

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