Coombs buckles under the weight of legislation

14 July, 2006
Page 6 
Leicester-based Coombs Quality Bakery has blamed a high street downturn and the burden of legislation after calling in the administrators on July 3. The third-generation company closed five of its 17 shops immediately after calling in the administrators, but hopes to sell the remaining outlets and the central bakery as a going concern.
MD Guy Coombs told British Baker the less profitable shops had been closed, with 59 redundancies, but the rest of the business is continuing to trade. He said: “There has been a great deal of interest from a number of sources and we are very positive of getting a sale for the remaining business in its entirety, saving 160 jobs.”Coombs said he had been forced to call in administrators after facing mounting problems over the last 12 months. Sales had been hit by a downturn on the high street and an increase in competition as “everyone and his brother” moved into selling filled rolls and sandwiches, he said.However, the biggest problem for the company was the burden of legislation, he said. “We can’t concentrate on being bakers any more,” he commented. “We have to deal with so much paperwork, food safety legislation, employment law and due diligence. We are a small business – too small to employ someone specifically to manage the legislation.” Coombs Quality Bakery was set up by Guy Coombs’ grandfather and had been due to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year.Neil Money and Neil Gibson of CBA Insolvency Practitioners have been appointed joint administrators.



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