Administrators for Patisserie Valerie and the chain’s management team are expected to meet potential bidders next week in a bid to strike a rescue deal for the collapsed cake retailer.
It is understood that KPMG, which was appointed as administrator on 22 January and shut 71 outlets a day later, will meet with a number of potential bidders next week as it hopes to broker the sale of the chain.
CEO Steve Francis said the sales process had generated a “very encouraging” response at this stage.
Patisserie Valerie’s existing management team, much of which was brought in to lead a turnaround after significant fraud was discovered in October, continue to run the business while KPMG handles the sale process.
Francis told The Grocer last week it was “business as usual” at the retailer and there was an “avalanche of names” that had expressed an interest in collapsed chain.
He has since told The Grocer that post-administration trading has been “very strong” with an uplift in like-for-like sales at those stores continuing to trade.
He stressed the brand still had a full product range across its “smaller and sharper estate” and it is working with its suppliers, including key supplier Brakes, to minimise disruption to customers.
Francis added that it intends to extend the deadline to place online orders from 31 January to 15 February.
He said the extended deadline was “sign that [we] will trade through a successful sale”.
The retailer’s owner Patisserie Holdings went into administration last week after attempts to renew its banking facilities following the discovery of a £40m black hole in October failed.
KPMG confirmed the shuttering of 71 outlets, comprising 27 Patisserie Valerie stores, 19 stores under its Druckers café brand and 25 Patisserie Valerie concessions in Debenhams, Next and at motorway service areas, as well as the termination of a concession deal with Sainsbury’s, at a cost of 920 jobs.
Chairman Luke Johnson pumped a further £3m into the business, on top of the £10m interest-free loan he ploughed into the business in October, and Barclays contributed a further £0.5m to ensure the group can continue to trade while a buyer is found.