UK: Jobs threat as administrators at Modelzone warn of store closures

The administrators of toy and model retailer Modelzone are planning to start closing stores after fa

The administrators of toy and model retailer Modelzone are planning to start closing stores after failing to find a buyer for the chain - Credit: Archant

About 355 retail jobs are facing the axe at collapsed toy and model chain Modelzone after administrators announced plans to start shutting stores.

Deloitte, which was appointed to handle the administration late last month, said it had begun consultations with employees and was drawing up a closure programme for Modelzone’s stores over the next few days.

Closing down sales will be launched across the company’s 47 stores, which include a branch in Ipswich, with shops set to shut over the coming weeks.

The administrators made 11 staff redundant at Modelzone’s head office in Lancing, West Sussex, yesterday.

Deloitte said Modelzone gift vouchers would continue to be honoured, but only towards 50% of the purchase price.

Richard Hawes, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: “Despite our continued efforts, we have been unable to identify a buyer for the retail business.

“We would like to thank the company’s employees for their support and professionalism during this time.”

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Reports had linked ModelZone founder David Mordecai, who is chief executive of Hawkin’s Bazaar parent Tobar Group, based in Norwich, with a bid to rescue the chain.

Mr Mordecai launched the business in 1987 after he bought Brighton-based Model Aerodrome, rebranding it ModelZone as he expanded the chain.

Following their appointment last month, the administrators said that Modelzone had previously been profitable but in recent years had suffered from online competition and onerous shop leases, including a number of new stores that had proved to be loss-making.

Modelzone’s wholesaling business, Amerang, went into administration at the same time as the retail arm. However, Deloitte said that Amerange was still profitable and had been placed in adminstration as a protective measure due to the collapse of its sister company.