Sussex-based Forfars Bakers, which was due to celebrate its bicentenary in 2018, has gone into voluntary liquidation.
As reported in local paper The Argus, the bakery headquarters in Newhaven along with four shops have been closed with immediate effect. However, a few stores which previously traded as Forfars, including those on Dyke Road, Hove and St George’s Road, Brighton have so far continued to trade under different names.
Over 40 staff have been made redundant and David Oprey and Elias Paourou of restructuring and insolvency experts CVR Global have been appointed joint liquidators.
Oprey said: “I can confirm that Forfars Bakers Ltd went into liquidation on 26 October and I was appointed joint liquidator, with Elias Paourou of this firm.
“The company, which can trace its history back to 1818, has unfortunately had to make all staff redundant at its four shops and its bakery in Newhaven.
“Shareholders have been informed and there will be a creditors’ meeting next week.”
An anonymous newly-redundant employee told The Argus she knew the closure was coming and that she had been she was left out of pocket by three weeks’ worth of wages.
She said: “It used to be a good company, everybody was happy. They ran it as a family business.
“It’s heartbreaking. Some people have been there for 30 years.”
In recent times, directorship of the business had passed to Dale Pritchard and Dean Evans after Tim Cutress left the business in December 2013 and Matthew Cutress did the same in February 2015.
In April 2014, the company received a loan to help it move its production unit from Brighton to Newhaven. The move helped improve efficiency and floorspace by 5,000sq ft.
However, recently the company has been in decline with the Horsham and Burgess Hill branches closing in July.
At the time, Pritchard explained the closure of the Horsham store to the West Sussex County Times by saying: “The Horsham store has been founded on very traditional products such as cheese straws, Belgian Buns, sausage rolls etc., for which it is very well-known and loved.
“Unfortunately, these products are not meeting the needs of the area and, subsequently, the costs of running such an expensive location.”
Now, after the collapse of the rest of the business, Pritchard revealed to British Baker: "The Management and staff of Forfars Bakers Ltd. have worked extremely hard to keep Forfars moving forward. However, we were confronted with a series of property issues recently that had a domino effect throughout the business. After consultation with the board and shareholders the decision was made to enter into voluntary liquidation."