Future Of Wimbledon's Patisserie Valerie Is Uncertain

Chain is going into administration after black hole in the accounts is discovered

The future of the Patisserie Valerie café in Wimbledon town centre is unclear after an announcement that the company that owns the chain has gone into administration.

Patisserie Valerie in Wimbledon

On Tuesday (22 January) Patisserie Holdings plc had issued a statement saying that they were in discussions with their banks about future training, but it was later announced that they were going into administration which they said was the direct result of the ‘significant fraud’ discovered in the company last year.

The Wimbledon branch on the town centre Piazza was still trading on Friday (as pictured above).

It is understood that Luke Johnson, a major shareholder in the company, is providing short term cash support to allow staff to be paid through January and then administrators KPMG will be assessing the profitability of each branch to decide which to keep open with a view to selling the business.

The company’s finance director was arrested after a black hole was discovered in the accounts last October. Luke Johnson, who is chairman of Patisserie Valerie and its largest shareholder with a 37% stake, pledged to inject up to £20 million to keep the chain's parent company, Patisserie Holdings, from being wound-up due to unpaid tax.

The company's suspended finance chief Chris Marsh was arrested after the company admitted it had uncovered "significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities".

The black hole in the company's finances is reported to be as much as £20 million.

The first Patisserie Valerie café was opened on Soho's Frith Street in 1926 by Belgian-born Madame Valerie. It was destroyed in World War II and a new site opened at nearby Old Compton Street.

Now it has 206 cafes across the country, employing around 2,000 staff.

January 28, 2019