LEGAL | Staff Reporter, UK

Abokado appoints administrators, resulting in 150 jobs lost

The chain was unable to reopen after the lockdown.

Abokado announced it has appointed administrators, the latest chain feeling the difficult trading conditions caused by the impact of COVID-19.

The healthy food businesses called in Benjamin Wiles and Geoffrey Bouchier of Duff & Phelps on 13 October, months after being forced to close all of its 19 stores at the end of March.

A pre-packaged administration sale was executed shortly thereafter to Montway Holdings Limited, of which Abokado co-founder and CEO Mark Lilley is the sole director and majority owner per documents filed to Companies House.

“Unfortunately, in light of the continued uncertainty, the accumulating liabilities and the existing leasehold structures, it was impossible to secure sufficient investment to re-open the business,” Lilley said in a statement.

“However, for a business such as Abokado, which is entirely dependent on London’s office community, the overnight shift to working from home and the emptying out of central London has been simply devastating.”

All 150 staff have been made redundant as a result of the deal.

“Whilst the government support measures have been welcome, to my mind they haven’t gone nearly far enough. With tightening restrictions, I fear that many more businesses and livelihoods will be lost over the coming months without further significant intervention – successful businesses made unviable by circumstances and restrictions entirely outside of their control,” Lilley added,

“We are fortunate to have been able to pull together a new investment group to support us in breathing new life into the business. Our hope is for the Abokado brand to re-emerge at some point in the future and in turn to create employment, to once again be a well-loved amenity for London’s workforce and to continue doing good within the community.”

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