Northampton bakers facing cash crisis call in experts as three more stores close and 20 jobs go

Insolvency experts have stepped in to try to stop Northampton bakers Oliver Adams from folding after even more store closures and redundancies have emerged.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 28th May 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Saturday, 28th May 2016, 8:23 am
The Oliver Adams store onthe corner of Wood hill is due to close as part of a restructing of the popular bakery firm.
The Oliver Adams store onthe corner of Wood hill is due to close as part of a restructing of the popular bakery firm.

Two days ago managing director for the 1969 established bakers, Mark Jarvis, revealed the long-running cornerhouse store on Woodhill in Northampton and the shop at 209 Wellingborough Road would shut down as a result of losing money “hand over fist”.

He said the closures were part of a “brand restructuring”.

But following investigations by the Chronicle & Echo it has emerged the company’s problems are far deeper than initially reported.

Sources have confirmed stores at High Street, Rushden; Market Street, Wellingborough and Gold Street, Kettering will also close today (Saturday), resulting in at least 13 redundancies.

Yesterday insolvency practitioners BRI confirmed that it has been working with Oliver Adams to try to pay a list of outstanding creditors. It is not known how many suppliers are owed money by the firm.

“BRI are in the process of contacting creditors and notifying them of the proposals,” a statement from the insolvency firm read.

“Creditors will then meet next week to agree, modify or reject the proposals and to ask questions of the directors regarding the viability of the company in the coming months and years. Several significant creditors, including the Crown, have already voted in favour of the proposals.”

Further sources have confirmed that at least six staff at the Gladstone Road bakery have been laid off this week, some of whom have worked with the company for the best part of two decades.

A source inside the company said: “I’m really upset - they did it on a points system, which means some of the staff who haven’t got a lot of experience will stay and some who have been here years are going.”

In a further sign that the company had been struggling financially, several axed staff said they have been on a three-week pay system for the past two months.

Their usual paypacket had been only been three quarters full, though they have been receiving a separate pay packet for the remaining week of each month.

If the company cannot come to Company Voluntary Agreements (CVAs) with firms it owes money to, it could face being wound up.

Joint nominee, Peter Windatt from BRI, is optimistic it can be saved however.

He said: “We are delighted to have been asked to talk with the company before it was too late.

“As always, when things appear to be going wrong the earlier advice is sought the more likely it is that a solution can be found.

“It is hoped that the creditors will accept the Company’s proposals which, if approved, will see the majority of jobs being saved in and around Northampton and a substantial return to creditors when compared with the likely outcome had the liquidation route been pursued.”

In total the bakery firm is to close 12 stores today.

Its trading name was first established in 1969, but its roots date back to 1856 when Thomas Adams supposedly walked into Northampton from Flore to learn the baking trade.

The company had been passed down through his direct descendants until last year, when it was bought out for an undisclosed amount.

BRI says the firm’s acquisition of two businesses in the Birmingham area in 2011 have paid a big part in its current financial predicament.

“Following their acquisition neither business performed as had been expected and both have now ceased trading,” said BRI. “The loss of their 23 outlets has caused a reduction in demand on the Northampton-based bakery and a number of redundancies followed.”

Managing director Mr Jarvis has been contacted for comment.