22 jobs axed

Welch’s online retailer Atterley.com collapses

Mike Welch
Mike Welch: relaunched the brand online (pic: Terry Murden)

Atterley.com, the online retail business launched in Edinburgh by tyres tycoon Mike Welch and backed by former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy, has closed with the loss of all 22 jobs.

Brian Milne and David McGinness of accountants and business advisers, French Duncan, have been appointed joint provisional liquidators amid claims that Independent suppliers are owed thousands of pounds.

Mr Welch acquired the Atterley brand from administrators in January 2016, turning it into a global trading platform for independent fashion retailers to sell their inventory online.

In May last year he raised £3 million in a funding round led by Maven Capital Partners and commitments from Scottish Enterprise.

As recently as May this year it was still recruiting and announced that Kelly Byrne was joining the board as co-CEO alongside long-standing CEO Kenny Baillie.

Ms Byrne joined the Atterley team in January this year as chief growth officer from Nasty Gal where she had been commercial director since 2018.

At the time, Mr Welch, who founded tyre-fitter BlackCircles.com before selling it to Michelin for £50m, was bullish about the company, saying: “With the two of them at the helm, I am even more confident in what Atterley can deliver in the coming months and years.”

However, the company has struggled with Brexit and higher costs.

Mr Milne, a partner and head of Restructuring and Debt Advisory at French Duncan, said: “Atterley.com Retail Ltd is unable to continue to trade due to a number of market-related reasons. The business has recently been impacted by higher distribution and postage costs involved in sending out products to customers.

“There has also been an increase in export and import costs due to Brexit and this has impacted on the viability of the business.”

He continued: “Staffing costs have increased over the last few years and while investors have been supporting the company for some time, they feel they are unable to continue as the company is not making sufficient sales to be profitable.”

David McGinness, director of restructuring and debt advisory at French Duncan, explained: “Unfortunately, all 22 staff at the firm will be made redundant with immediate effect.

“The company’s owners made arrangements to pay the staff’s final salaries shortly before the liquidation commenced. There are no assets to sell so we will be closing the business down and not seeking a sale.”

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