Buyer sought for gift store chain iCandy

Thu, 11 May 2017

Administrators appointed to iCandy, a chain of gift shops across the south-east founded by the boss of Clinton Cards, are seeking a buyer for 10 of its stores.

The firm, established in 2012 by Clinton Lewis, initially enjoyed “rapid expansion” but has recently been hit by a “double whammy” of a drop in consumer spending and a rise in business rates, FRP Advisory said.

FRP has already closed four iCandy stores and made 22 staff redundant. 79 staff remain and the business will continue to trade while a buyer is sought for its remaining 10 stores across Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Essex.

iCandy, which sells a range of fun, contemporary cards and gifts, opened eight shops in 2013 and a further four in 2014 but, like many other retailers, has faced significant financial pressure of late.

“After a period of rapid expansion at iCandy, several of the stores have more recently, however, been hit by a double whammy of a sudden deterioration in consumer spending on the high street by those who have felt the squeeze on disposable income from the rising costs of fuel and food since the pound’s fall in value, and a sharp rise in local business rates that often hits small shops hardest,” said joint administrator Glyn Mummery.

“Owing to the financial pressures on the company under its current structure we have had to close four stores and regrettably make 22 staff redundant immediately following our appointment, in order to maintain ongoing trading for the 10 remaining stores supporting a further 79 staff.”

FRP said they are already speaking to interested buyers, Mummery adding: “Many of the iCandy stores continue to trade well from desirable locations in the more thriving market towns of Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk and they continue to capture the purses of shoppers looking to spend within the wider gifts market.”

The stores that remain open are in Basildon, Chelmsford, Colchester, Epping, Witham, Southend, Hatfield Galleria, Hemel Hempstead, Ware and Bury St Edmunds.

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