Aspinal of London, a renowned British retailer, is facing financial difficulties brought about by the ongoing pandemic. In response to this, the company has proposed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), a legal agreement that allows a struggling business to restructure its debts and, hopefully, avoid bankruptcy. While the full details of the proposed CVA have not yet been disclosed, it is expected that the plan will involve store closures and job cuts.

Currently, Aspinal of London operates 10 physical stores in the UK and employs around 300 individuals. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the company’s online store and concessions in prestigious department stores like Harrods and Selfridges will remain operational.

KPMG, a well-known professional services firm, is expected to handle the CVA on behalf of Aspinal of London. Earlier this year, KPMG was brought in to explore different funding options for the retailer, including the possibility of a sale. According to Will Wright of KPMG, the substantial decrease in footfall on high streets caused by the pandemic has severely impacted the retail industry, including luxury goods. Wright believes that the CVA will allow Aspinal of London to focus on its online business and premium concessions, which can serve as a strong foundation for future growth and success.

For the CVA to be implemented, Aspinal of London needs the approval of 75% of its creditors. Although the company’s financial performance for the year ending March 2019 has not been made public, it had already reported losses despite an increase in sales. Aspinal of London was initially known for its high-quality stationery but has since expanded its product offerings to include fashion, specifically high-end travel and leather goods. The appointment of Giles Deacon as creative chief and collaborations with brand ambassador David Gandy have helped elevate its fashion profile. Additionally, its association with the Duchess of Cambridge has contributed to its international reputation, particularly in markets that highly value British brands.

Unfortunately, the decline in international visitors to the UK due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic has had a severe impact on Aspinal of London. In response to this, the company has been focusing on expanding its presence overseas, with new store openings in Shanghai, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. While these stores will continue operating, plans for further expansion have been put on hold.

The proposed CVA represents a strategic decision by Aspinal of London to adapt its business model and prioritize its online presence and premium concessions. It is an attempt to overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic and secure a sustainable future for the brand. As the company awaits approval from its creditors, it remains to be seen how this restructuring plan will unfold and whether it will enable Aspinal of London to regain its financial stability and continue serving its loyal customer base.

Useful links:
1. Aspinal of London Official Website
2. KPMG Official Website