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Hawkin’s Bazaar enters administration following challenging Christmas

Hawkin’s Bazaar is the latest retailer to collapse into administration, it was reported at the end of last week, having struggled through what was a challenging Christmas for many.

The retail chain has now suspended its website and is currently running clearance sales across a number of its 20 UK stores. According to the retailer, gift cards will only be accepted for a limited time.

Hawkin’s Bazaar had been looking for a buyer to take on the high street brand, however, having found Christmas more challenging than anticipated, the smaller business took the decision to appoint administrators in Moorfields Advisory.

Tom Straw, a partner at Moorfields, said: “Hawkin’s Bazaar is a retail brand with a strong heritage both on the high street and online. Unfortunately, despite making changes to appeal to the shift in modern buying patterns, the retailer still struggled to compete with online retailers such as Amazon.”

At London Toy Fair last week, the NPD Group reflected on a difficult year for the toy trade in 2019 which saw UK sales down six per cent. This came on top of a similar decline in 2018. A total of 337 million toys with a value of £3.2bn were sold in the UK last year.

Argos has said that the absence of a must-have game or gadget had contributed to the slump in sales at Christmas. The retailer shared its own disappointment in toy sales over Christmas, pulling down Sainsbury’s overall sales for the quarter.

For Hawkin’s Bazaar, this is the second time the retailer has entered administration and follows a situation in which two thirds of its store network was closed back in 2011. In 2016, the retailer was acquired by Merino Private Equity but it was put up for sale again last summer. The most recent accounts show a near £1m loss in sales of £15.3m in 2018.

Hawkin’s Bazaar’s stores will continue trading until further notice with much of its stock subject to clearance discounts and special promotions.

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