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Wed 17th May 2023 - Exclusive: Planet Organic acquired out of administration for £810,000
Exclusive – Planet Organic acquired out of administration for £810,000: Planet Organic was acquired out of administration last month for a total consideration of £810,000, Propel has learned. Planet Organic was rescued from administration by Bioren, whose shareholders include the founders of the organic supermarket chain Renée and Brian Elliott. The deal saw ten Planet Organic stores continue to trade in locations throughout London, safeguarding 194 jobs in-store and 71 jobs in the head office. However, four stores were not included in the sale – in Henley-on-Thames, Bermondsey, Teddington and Tottenham Court Road – and these will shut immediately. The closures resulted in 64 staff being made redundant. Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Holland & Barrett were linked with rescue bids for the business. A statement from Will Wright and Chris Pole, of Interpath Advisory, who were appointed joint administrators to Planet Organic, said: “While the company has historically been profitable, it was loss-making for several years because of the difficult trading conditions. In February 2020, prior to the first covid lockdown, the company acquired a subsidiary, As Nature Intended, including seven retail stores. Almost immediately following this acquisition, the covid pandemic had a significant, detrimental impact on performance across all stores resulting from repeat national lockdowns. The company suffered from reduced footfall, particularly for its two best performing central London stores. Despite efforts to improve profitability, the contribution from stores has been insufficient to meet the supply chain and overhead costs, and in addition two of the stores were incurring significant losses. As a result of these losses and the requirement of additional investment to restore it to profitability, Interpath was introduced to the company by the majority shareholder, Inverleith.” The directors of Bioren said they planned to return to Planet Organic’s vision and values, “reinvigorating the business by celebrating its mission to promote health in the community, and to renew training and culture, with the aim of inspiring people to eat well and create personal health and vitality while supporting the earth’s health and biodiversity”. In September last year, Planet Organic revealed it was looking to raise £30m to fund plans to expand to more than 100 stores over the next three years, with a focus on residential and regional openings after closing most of its City sites. The business reported pre-tax losses of £3,373,420 for the year ending 28 August 2021, compared with a loss of £2,465,741 in 2020, and a loss of £655,217 in 2019. Turnover was down, from £40,680,886 in 2020 to £37,617,630, but up from £35,091,327 in 2019. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The trend for health has only increased over covid, and we believe there is an opportunity to build a chain of more than 100 stores in the next three years. The high street is readjusting to the current economic conditions, and the next three years is an opportunity to acquire sites in attractive locations at attractive rents. This is the time to be on the front foot to build a business that matches in size the leading health food chains in France and Germany.” The last time the business made a pre-tax profit was in 2018, when it made £155,525. Planet Organic features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Its turnover of £37,617,630 is the 184th highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. 

Poke House secures new investment to aid international expansion: Poke House, Europe’s largest poké restaurant chain, has secured new investment to help it strengthen its international presence and develop its retail offer. The new investment in the business, which was founded in 2018 and operates more than 160 sites, was led by Red Circle Investments, which is owned by Renzo Rosso, founder of international fashion group OTB. The business, which was founded by Matteo Pichi and Vittoria Zanetti, didn’t reveal the amount of the new investment, only to say it was “double digit”. Poke House, which has nine sites in London, said it planned to open a further 40 sites this year. It currently operates in nine countries with more than 1,000 employees and a 2022 turnover of €100m (£87m). With its international and diverse industry experience, Red Circle Investments said it will help transform and strengthen Poke House into a “global brand, establishing itself as an innovative, tech and sustainable leader”. Among the active investors renewing their commitment to Poke House’s growth are Eulero Capital, FG2 Capital and MIP SGR. Rosso said: “Quality food designed and produced in a sustainable way is the keystone of the modern world, a more conscious consumption that generates less waste. Healthy food means more health and less pollution. I like to invest in young companies, made by young people, based on a strong culture and long-term responsible values. The company's international development potential is evident, and it will be able to count on our worldwide experience in retail, marketing, in the relationship with the final consumer, to grow further.” Pichi added: “I am thrilled to begin our collaboration with Red Circle Investments and delighted by the reappointments from our current partners, we are even more confident of achieving our next goals. We see the younger generation never giving up healthy, tasty and balanced bowls for their lunches. We are here to be their reference point, we will intensify our foreign presidium and accelerate our sustainability initiatives to create shared value for all our stakeholders, shareholders, customers and for our entire team.”

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