BUSINESSES battling insolvency across Yorkshire and the North East are highlighting Brexit in ever-increasing numbers for their financial struggles – and it’s a scenario that’s triggered yet another High Street closure.

The Japanese company behind the pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond has pulled the plug on the chain, amid mounting concern that its losses would only increase after Brexit.

Insolvency experts said the statement has finally shed some light on the circumstances behind the mysterious closure of 113 shops.

Albemarle & Bond and its sister company Herbert Brown have long been familiar names across Yorkshire and the North East, with branches in Leeds, Keighley, Castleford, Selby, Wakefield, Sheffield, Mexborough, Doncaster, Barnsley, Middlesborough, Hartlepool, Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead, Blyth, and Scunthorpe,

Founded in Bristol in 1983 with a single shop, Albemarle and Bond grew with the purchase of Herbert Brown, which was established in Leeds in 1840, and at its peak the group boasted almost 200 stores.

Amid insolvency fears, they have now pulled down their shutters without warning, leaving customers concerned that they may never retrieve their belongings, pawned for short-term cash.

Around 400 jobs are also said to be in jeopardy, according to reports in the insolvency media

The Tokyo-based parent company Daikokuya Holdings issued this statement to its investors about its failed business recovery plan:

“Despite the implementation of various measures to improve management such as moving the head office, flattening the organization, and reducing the number of employees, the net profit for the year ended 31 March 2019 was a deficit of £7m. With the likelihood that the UK will leave the EU, losses are expected to increase, so we have decided to withdraw from the UK business.”

The two pawnbroking brands have been fighting insolvency for several years, and were first brought to their knees in 2014 after being hit by a drop in the price of gold; and the launch of an expansion plan that failed to deliver expected profits.

It resulted in the group collapsing into administration after failing to meet its liabilities, and its lenders declining to support any rescue plans for the loss-making business.

Insolvency practitioners warned then that investors would see no return following the failure to secure an insolvency lifeline.

It marked a sweeping reversal of fortunes since it boasted of “the age of the pawnbroker” in 2011 and launched a raft of pop-up shops, many across Yorkshire and the North East, specialising in gold dealing.

After insolvency forced it into administration, it was finally rescued by current investors after a £10m buyout.

It now finds itself in the shop window again, looking for a buyer. But whether there are any new investors willing to step in and save the stricken group a second time remains to be seen.

Here at Walsh Taylor, when financial difficulties arise, we’ll put time on your side.

For more information on how our licensed insolvency practitioners and business recovery teams in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Darlington can help you, please call us on 03300 244 660 or email confidential@walshtaylor.co.uk

Mary Taylor
Director

Mary began working in insolvency for a national accountancy practice in Glasgow thirty years ago and worked in most divisions of the insolvency department.

She then moved to a smaller firm so she could advance her knowledge on a more hands on basis. She moved back to Leeds in 1987 and commenced working with a small firm of accountants and subsequently made partner.

She left in 1999 to set up her own practice, McCann Taylor.
McCann Taylor became involved with the consumer market both in England and Scotland.

Mary sold McCann Taylor in March 2007 and formed Walsh Taylor to concentrate on helping businesses experiencing financial difficulties.

Kate Ellis (neé Breese)
Insolvency Practitioner

Kate has worked in insolvency since 2001 starting out at a firm of solicitors in Leeds and latterly gaining positions within two national accountancy firms.

During this time Kate gained extensive experience in all aspects of personal and corporate insolvency, for the first part of her career specializing in personal insolvency and latterly corporate.

Kate has been with Walsh Taylor since its incorporation in September 2008.

Kate is CPI and JIEB qualified, is experienced in a variety of industries and sectors and is the firm’s joint appointment taker.

Meg Heath
Director

Meg has a background in supporting SMEs, including the raising of finance and advising on organisational change. She is a non-executive director of companies in the private and third sector, including Walsh Taylor.

Previously she was Deputy Fund Director of one of the largest CDFIs in the UK, and has experience of the social enterprise, charity and private sectors. Her experience of assisting companies to survive and thrive has been gained across a broad range of sectors and in companies of all sizes.

In addition to her work at Walsh Taylor she works for other private companies, including non-executive and trustee positions.

Emma Mifsud
Insolvency Practitioner

After graduating from Leeds University in 2005 with a BA Hons degree in Criminology, Emma worked for a regional law firm in both the property department and insolvency and banking department. Whilst doing so Emma gained a Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP University.

Emma then joined a national accountancy firm in 2009 gaining experience in personal insolvency before moving to a Leeds based firm. At this firm Emma specialised in bankruptcies, IVA’s and negotiating informal agreements with creditors. In 2013 Emma gained her CPI qualification.

Since joining the firm in December 2013, Emma has taken on a portfolio of personal and corporate insolvency cases to extend her knowledge and expertise in all areas of insolvency.

In December 2017 Emma become a licensed appointment taker under the Insolvency Practitioners Association, she is JIEB qualified.

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