Jobs saved as Coombs Hampshires finds buyer

17 July, 2009
Page 4 

Leicestershire bakery chain Coombs Hampshires has been bought out of administration for an undisclosed sum, saving up to 150 jobs.

The business and assets have been purchased by Adam Baxter, who had been running the bakery with his father, Keith, prior to its collapse. However, six of its 26 stores are set to close in a "rationalisation" process, resulting in the loss of around 20 jobs.

Shops in market towns are being closed to "make a more compact operation", while two city-based shops are to shut due to high operating costs and competition from the newly extended Highcross shopping centre.

The company was formed when Hampshires Bakery bought Coombs Quality Bakers out of administration in 2006 and was 32nd in British Baker's Top 50 bakery retailers table in January 2009.

PKF was appointed as administrator on 23 June, after the recession is said to have hit trade severely. The stores continued to remain open, along with its head office on Claymill Road, Rushey Mead, Leicester, while administrators Eddie Kerr and Ian Gould sought a buyer.

Baxter has bought back the business with family support and it will continue to trade under the same name, Coombs Hampshires Bakery.

"I would like to thank the wholesale and retail customers, staff and suppliers for their goodwill during this difficult time and look forward to working with them to ensure the future of the business," commented Baxter.

He added that the chain will meet all cake orders taken prior to the appointment of the administrator. "It is with regret that there will be some rationali-sation across the business, with approximately 20 redundancies and six store closures," he added.

The six stores earmarked for closure are located at: Cank Street, St Martins, Leicester; Market Street, Leicester; Borough Street, Castle Donington; Hall Croft, Shepshed; Market Street, Ashby de la Zouch; and South Parade, Melton Mowbray.

"Coombs is an established bakery in the county and the sale of the assets and business will secure its future. It is encoura-ging to know Coombs' bakeries will continue to be a familiar sight on the high streets of Leicestershire," said Kerr.





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