Lunchtime today (June 23) is the deadline that has been set by the joint liquidators of Gemma International for bids to be in from companies that licensors (the companies who represent the brands that Gemma published on cards, wrap and partyware) have specified as their preferred suppliers to take on the respective licences going forward.
This news comes a few weeks after Gemma announced it was to cease trading.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Rachel Wilkinson, who was appointed joint liquidator of Gemma International at midnight on June 11, when the company evoked a CVL (Creditors Voluntary Liquidation) told PG Buzz: “We have received a bid from a retailer to buy 90% of the remaining stock in Gemma’s warehouse, but as I have a responsibility to get the best price for the creditors, licensors have requested that we contact their preferred suppliers to invite them to make a bid for the stock.”
While a lot of cards, wrap and partyware was sold in the run up to PWC being appointed as liquidators being appointed, Rachel said that there are still “12 truckloads of cards, wrap and partyware” in Gemma’s Andover’s warehouse that she is looking to sell off over the next few days. “To get the best deal for creditors and to stop costs escalating, I want everything wrapped up by the end of next week,” she confirmed to PG Buzz.
Stuart Grant, group sourcing director of The Entertainer confirmed that it is ‘the retailer’ that has put the bid in to buy all of the remaining stock.
The toy retailer, which trades from 168 stores under The Entertainer brand in the UK (but whose total presence straddles 960 retail rooftops globally) enjoyed a long running relationship with Gemma, going back to when the card publishing business was borne out of its independent toy retailing roots.
“We were very sad to learn of the demise of Gemma, especially as the company trailblazed the greeting card licensing sector,” Stuart Grant, group sourcing director of The Entertainer told PG Buzz. He confirmed that The Entertainer, which has been supplied by Gemma for years, acquired a lot of stock from Gemma just prior to the company going into a CVL. “We did this not for commercial reasons, but as we thought it was right to support the company with whom we have enjoyed such a long friendship,” added Stuart.
There is a considerable amount of Gemma stock that has been produced in the Far East by manufacturer Glory Moon, but this is not included in the deals being done by PWC as it does not belong to Gemma.
Summing up the factors that have contributed to Gemma’s demise, Rachel suggests: “The business took a hit from Toys R Us from which it never really recovered. The directors did take a lot of costs out of the business and sought advice from a turnaround specialist, but it was already too late. The general situation in high street retailing obviously didn’t help either. When it became clear that the sales were not enough to justify the company continuing the directors had an obligation to cease trading.”
The agreements with licensors, such as with eOne which licensed Peppa Pig and PJ Masks to Gemma, were terminated when PWC was appointed as liquidator. New agreements with other suppliers are to be announced in the near future.
Other licences held by Gemma/Studio by Gemma included emoji, Thomas and Friends, Mr Men and Little Miss, Pokémon, Elmer, Natural History Museum and Guess How Much I Love You.
Top: There are still 12 truckloads of stock sitting in Gemma’s warehouse in Andover.