Victoria Plum pre-pack administration sale

In the latest Kbb news it has transpired that online bathroom retailer Victoria Plum has been sold in a pre-pack administration deal by administrators Ernst & Young, ending weeks of speculation of what fate was to befall Victoria Plum.

The news of the Victoria Plum pre-pack administration sale may well end weeks of speculation but given that it has been reported that customers whom have placed orders and its network of independent bathroom fitters (who carry out Victoria’s Plum installation work) will both be left high and dry the news will likely only please the new buyers, AHK Designs.

A statement from Ernst & Young said that any customers who have placed an order which is yet to arrive will not receive their products and will not get a refund, unless it’s from their credit card provider.

In the days before the sale the British Institute of KBB Installation (BiKBBI) had said that many of Victoria Plums independent bathroom fitters were “anxious about outstanding financial liabilities owed by the business for installation work completed", with BiKBBI chief executive Damian Walters saying that he had “spoken to a number of concerned installers this morning who fear being left high and dry.”

AHK Designs whom also owns and furniture seller Cox & Cox. confirmed that the acquisition will include Victoria Plum’s head office and its nationwide distribution network.

Whilst the deal leaves customers and independent bathroom fitters 'high and dry' it was said that all the Victoria Plums’s 300 employees will be transferring to the new owner. However, no word was given on whether those 300 jobs would undergo a restructuring once the employment had been transferred.

Victoria Plums’s previous owners, Endless LLP which also owns companies such as Hovis, The Works, Bathstore and Crown Paints, had acquired Victoria Plum in 2019 and oversaw three years of profitable growth.

The company saw record sales in the 2020 financial year but in its financial results to the end of February 2022, although Victoria Plum had increased turnover by 46% to £113 million, pre-tax profits fell to £736,000 from £1.5m the year before.

In a statement AHK said that “significant cost inflation in global freight costs and cost of living pressures” had impacted the company's profitability and cash flow in recent months and that the business would benefit from being part of a larger group which owned complementary businesses.

Aamir Khurshid from AHK Designs said: “Victoria Plum is a leading online retailer of bathroom products with a strong brand and market-leading product. We are pleased to be investing in the future of the business and look forward to welcoming all of Victoria Plum’s employees into AHK Designs.”

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