Cafe safe... but fears for Claire’s

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Active - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@reach­plc.com @jamie_lopez1

THE fu­ture of a South­port town cen­tre cafe looks to have been saved de­spite the com­pany’s fi­nan­cial chief be­ing ar­rested.

But doubts are now be­ing raised over another na­tional chain which has a pres­ence in the town.

Patis­serie Va­lerie, which has a branch on Lord Street, was left on the brink of col­lapse last week when a ma­jor black hole was found in the com­pany’s fi­nances. The firm’s fi­nan­cial chief, Chris Marsh, was sus­pended from his role and later ar­rested and re­leased on bail.

The cake spe­cial­ists had been handed a tax bill of £1.1m and served with a wind­ing up pe­ti­tion for its prin­ci­pal trad­ing unit Stonebeach, only to be res­cued at the 11th hour when the chair­man of­fered a res­cue pack­age backed by £20m of loans from him­self. The com­pany also suc­cess­fully raised more than £15m through the is­sue of new shares.

South­port’s Patis­serie Va­lerie opened in Au­gust 2017, creat­ing 20 jobs, and now ap­pears to have had its short-term fu­ture se­cured after Mr John­son said no stores would be taken back by land­lords.

But un­cer­tainty hangs over another town cen­tre business though after re­ports that ac­ces­sories chain Claire’s could close some of its 350 UK branches.

The firm is be­lieved to be talk­ing to re­struc­tur­ing firms about a num­ber of op­tions – one of which could in­volve a num­ber of branches be­ing shut.

While Claire’s runs a shop on Chapel Street, no in­di­ca­tion has been given over which stores may be se­lected for clo­sure.

Patis­serie Va­lerie on Lord Street in South­port

Claire’s on Chapel Street

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