Fancy dress brand acquired out of administration – Business Sale Report

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Mon, 01 Jul 2024 | BUSINESS SALE

Fancy dress brand acquired out of administration

Smiffys, a fancy dress manufacturer and retailer dating back to the 19th century, has been acquired out of administration. The company is headquartered in Leeds, with stores in Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool and Oxford.

Founded in 1894, the company was part of R.H. Smith & Sons (Wigmakers) Limited and claimed that it shipped in excess of 26 million fancy dress items each year and distributed around 7,500 products to thousands of stockists globally.

Despite its prominent, longstanding place in the industry, the company had suffered over recent years due to COVID-19, inflation and supply chain disruption.

In R.H. Smith & Sons (Wigmakers) Limited’s accounts for the year to March 31 2023, it reported turnover of £54.7 million, up from £39.6 million a year earlier, but fell from an operating profit of £274,285 to a loss of over £3 million.

After efforts to secure a solvent sale proved unsuccessful, the company filed a notice of intention (NOI) to appoint administrators last month. The company stated at that time that this measure would enable it “to explore a number of potential options, with the ultimate aim of securing a sustainable business for the future” and that it would continue to trade and fulfil orders during the process.

Jane Steer and Sarah O’Toole of PwC were subsequently named as joint administrators and, upon their appointment, secured a sale of the company’s business and assets to Ad Populum LLC.

Ad Populum already owns an array of brands, including pop culture action figure and collectibles specialist NECA, tabletop games and miniatures producer Wizkids, US costume company Rubies II, LLC and toys and accessories maker Kidrobot.

PwC partner and joint administrator Jane Steer commented: “Smiffy’s is a popular brand that has been operating in one form or another since 1894, but sadly, like many other retailers, it was impacted by the after effects of the pandemic.”

“The buyer, Ad Populum, will add Smiffy’s to its comprehensive range of brands which includes extensive experience of the fancy dress and toy markets.”

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