Renée Elliott

Source: Planet Organic / Renée Elliott

Founder Renée Elliott has ‘stabilised’ the business following its collapse into administration in 2023

Planet Organic is planning to open its first new stores since its collapse into administration, as Renée Elliott makes progress with her recovery plan.

In new accounts published this week, the retailer revealed it is in the process of finalising a lease agreement for an as yet unspecified “new store location”.

It also plans to close and relocate its Westbourne Grove store to a new property “acquired” nearby in “late summer 2024”. The move would be financed by Planet Organic’s shareholders, alongside “increased investment” in more modern fridges and in more energy efficient lighting across Planet’s estate.

Four of Planet’s stores, along with a company owned warehouse, were not included in Elliott’s initial deal to buy back the business in April 2023, so closed immediately. A further site in Balham, London closed in September after Planet couldn’t agree a new lease with owner Iceland Foods, leaving the retailer with nine stores all based in London.

As recently as May, Elliott had said there were no immediate plans to rebuild Planet’s footprint, although she didn’t rule out the prospect.

The Companies House filings, by Bioren Limited, are the first to be published since Elliott’s £800,000 deal to rescue the business she founded out of administration in April. It covers the first four months of her ownership to 26 August 2023.

Planet made a pre-tax loss of £920,715 on revenues of £8.4m during the period.

A direct comparison to previous performance is hard, as these are the first accounts to be published by Bioren since it acquired the brand and stores from previous owner PO Realisations, which last filed acounts in September 2022. Planet Organic owed more than £12.5m when it collapsed.

Overall net debt was nearly £1.1m, according to the new accounts.

“Sales have recovered and all stores are now trading at above the comparable period prior to the administration, with some stores showing significant growth,” Elliott said in the results, adding that the business has “stabilised”.

Post acquisition, Planet Organic had agreed new relationships with 150 of its suppliers. It had also been reviewing its entire range, and cut the price of products across the board to “improve competitiveness”, Elliott said in the accounts.

“The recovery phase could not have been achieved without the dedication and support of the incredible team of people who work in the business, our suppliers and shareholders,” Elliott said in results.

In May, The Grocer revealed that Mark Broomfield had been appointed as Planet’s new managing director. He’ll work alongside Elliott to oversee the next stage of the retailer’s strategy. This will include a “brand refresh”.