No Joy for card publishers as retailer goes into administration

Meanwhile, rumours quashed about The Works going for a float

Fashion and lifestyle retail chain, Joy has gone into administration, but has been bought back by its former owners, leaving the publishers that supplied it with unpaid debts. As predicted by Cardsharp in the June edition of Progressive Greetings (which is out later this week), Joy (which traded from 32 stores), did a pre-pack deal, which enabled it to divest itself of debts. High rents and rates have been blamed for the downfall of the retailer.

The company was immediately sold back to its owners Louche London and the Joy Group of Companies. As a result of the deal, some 11 Joy stores have closed, with 21 continuing trading. While greeting cards are not the main thrust of the business, it does include a prominent display of design-led and humorous cards in all its stores.

This is the second time in the last decade that the business has gone into administration in September 2008 before it was bought by Louche London.

The Works continues to expand.
The Works continues to expand.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the high street, fast growing varietal value retailer, The Works is attracting attention as rumours gather pace about its private equity owner’s intention to float the retailer or sell its share. The Sunday Times carried a story that private equity company Endless, which bought The Works out of administration in 2008, has hired the Investment bank, Investec, to begin preparing a listing for sale next year.

However, ex-Card Factory founder Dean Hoyle, who is chairman and 35% shareholder of The Works was quick to quash the rumour. As he told PG Buzz: “As we say in football, never believe anything you read in the papers!”

Dean has other matters on his mind. As owner of Huddersfield Town FC he is eagerly awaiting the team’s biggest match in its history. Huddersfield Town F takes on Reading FC in the Championship play off final at Wembley next Monday and a win would see ‘’Huddersfield’ return to the top level of English football for the first time in 45 years.

The Works has expanded from 226 stores to almost 400 under Endless’ (and Dean’s) ownership. Sales rose 9% to £154.5 million in the 12 months to May last year. Underlying profits grew 37% to £12.7 million. It is not clear what valuation The Works would command if it was to float.

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