Retro-inspired homeware and fashion designer Orla Kiely goes into administration

Retro-inspired fashion and homeware brand Orla Kiely goes into administration

Irish designer Orla Kiely has ceased trading both online and at her company's three physical stores in London and Ireland.

A statement on the company's website, signed by "Orla, Dermott and the team", states that the company has gone into administration. It thanks shoppers for their ongoing support and for "embracing our brand and designs through the years."

"Kiely Rowan Plc, the retail and wholesale fashion business of Orla Kiely has ceased trading as of Monday 17 September 2018," it reads.

It says the decision comes "following various challenges that have faced the company over the past few years, both in the UK and abroad."

Brand will continue to sell products with partners

Insolvency specialists David Ruben and Partners have been called in to undertake the voluntary liquidation.

According to the statement, the stores in Kildare, Ireland, and on London's Kings Road and Monmouth Street are closed. However the brand plans to continue to sell homewares and accessories through its partner retailers, which are high-street stores Debenhams and John Lewis.

"Orla Kiely's Home and Licensing business will not be impacted, and its selection of accessories and homeware will continue to be sold through its distribution partners," it reads.

Brexit impacted the business

Kiely, known for her 1970s-inspired designs and signature stem and leaves print, began her working life as a fabric and wallpaper designer. She started her company with husband Dermott Rowan in 1995, and they remain the sole directors, according to the last accounts filed.

During the financial year to March 2017, the company had a turnover of more than £8 million, an increase of more than £1 million on the previous year. However gross profit remained static year-on-year due to an increase in the cost of sales.

Pre-tax profits fell from £151,318  in 2016 to £100,954 due to an increase in interest payments in the financial year ending March 2017. Overall the profit for that year was £74,260, down from £109,139 in the previous year's accounts.

Under principal risks and uncertainties, the accounts submitted mention that the exit from the EU had an effect on confidence and exchange rates, which in turn affected the business.

Other UK high-street businesses have also faced difficulties recently, with House of Fraser and Toys R Us closing their doors this year, and other retailers including New Look reducing the number of their outlets.