The Art Group descends into administration
Greetings card and contemporary art publisher, The Artful Group limited (trading as The Art Group), has gone into administration with the loss of 300 jobs. According to reports, staff have not been paid their last month's salaries with some receiving the news via text message.
This is the second time TAG has gone into administration leaving suppliers high and dry. Will Wright and Mark Orton of KPMG were appointed joint administrators.
The Art Group, which is a contemporary art publishing business, is based across two sites. The 120,000 sq ft Northamptonshire site in Brackmills is the printing operation of the business and the London site, based in Saffron Hill, is the design operation. The company designs and sells greetings cards, prints and frames.
Upon going into administration, three hundred staff have been made redundant, mostly at the Northamptonshire site. Approximately 30 staff have been made redundant at the London office. A skeleton number of staff will remain to assist the administrators in the hope of finding a buyer for the business.
Will Wright, joint administrator and restructuring director at KPMG, commented: “Unfortunately the sustained drop in consumer demand has had a punishing effect on the trading of the business. Despite the best efforts of the shareholders to find a solution, regrettably there was no other option but to request the appointment of administrators. We are now working hard to try and secure a sale of the business and are keen to hear from any interested parties.”
Industry sources pointed to TAG's refinancing just over 12 months ago along with the decline in sales from key wall art customers such as Ikea and Habitat as "the beginning of the end".
And although there are several parties rumoured to be looking at the business, separating the more profitable greetings card and design side of the operation away from the art and framing element is considered to be difficult.