Atterley appoints administrators and announces staff redundancies

Atterley, the online marketplace for premium independent boutiques, has appointed administrators and ceased trading on its website. 

In a statement on its website this morning, Edinburgh-based Atterley announced that Brian Milne and David McGinness of French Duncan have been appointed as joint provisional liquidators.

Commenting on the news, Holdings said: “With deep and sincere regret, staff at Atterley were informed this morning that we will be starting a formal redundancy consultation with them.

“The reason is that some of the shareholders of the business could not justify further investment. This is related to the overall economic climate and in particularly a squeeze on consumer spending, linked to inflationary pressure.

“The four main shareholders of Atterley had invested £1.8 million since April, including over half from [founder] Mike Welch. A bank was appointed to seek external funding or strategic opportunities, and we committed to that process. Last week, it became clear that we needed significant investment through to Q2 2023. However, it was not possible to put this together from existing shareholders or external investors.

“We deeply regret what has happened and did are not taking this course lightly or easily. We are mindful that this is a difficult situation for our staff, particularly at this time of year. We are also conscious of the impact on our independent boutique partners and loyal customers.

“We are aware of our obligations to employees, partners and customers, and would like to thank them for what they have done since 2016, when Atterley took on its new form. We will be working with the insolvency practitioner over the coming days to form a plan.”

Brian Milne, a partner and head of Restructuring and Debt Advisory at French Duncan LLP, explained: “ Retail Ltd is unable to continue to trade due to a number of market related reasons. The business has recently been impacted by higher distribution and postage costs involved in sending out products to customers. There has also been an increase in export and import costs due to Brexit and this has impacted on the viability of the business.”

Milne continued: “Staffing costs have increased over the last few years and while investors have been supporting the company for some time, they feel they are unable to continue as the company is not making sufficient sales to be profitable.”

David McGinness, director of Restructuring at French Duncan LLP, added: “Unfortunately, all 22 staff at the firm will be made redundant with immediate effect. The company’s owners made arrangements to pay the staff’s final salaries shortly before the liquidation commenced. There are no assets to sell so we will be closing the business down and not seeking a sale.”

Atterley was a marketplace for premium fashion boutiques and brands with 400 listed on its site. The company was first founded as a multibrand online boutique in 2012, but previously fell into administration in January 2016. It was relaunched in September 2016 by entrepreneur Michael Welch, who decided to turn it into a “Farfetch-style marketplace for independent boutiques”.

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