LONDON — Waterford Wedgwood plc is the latest British firm to fall victim to the credit crunch.
The Ireland-based company that produces Wedgwood tableware, Royal Doulton china and Waterford crystal placed its U.K. and Irish divisions into administration and receivership, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11, on Monday.
The company, founded in 1759, manufactures its own lines of tableware and crystal glassware, alongside ranges created by designers including Marc Jacobs, John Rocha, Vera Wang, Jasper Conran and Martha Stewart.
Administrators at Deloitte said poor trading conditions meant the company had not been able to complete its planned financial restructuring. The company also failed to find a buyer, which finally forced it to seek administrative protection.
A spokesman for Waterford Wedgwood told WWD Monday that administrators intend to run the business as normal while the company continues to look for a buyer, and added there was “no reason why” the designers’ lines would be impacted.
The spokesman added the company’s U.S. division would not be affected by the U.K. and Ireland businesses going into administration. “We will be continuing to trade the business as a going concern,” said Angus Martin, joint administrator at Deloitte.
“Waterford, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton are quintessentially classic brands that represent a high-quality product steeped in history,” he added. “The administration team will be working closely with management, customers and suppliers during this time to ensure operations continue whilst a sale of the business is sought.”
The company has 19 stores in the U.K., alongside 120 retail concessions in the region. Its U.K. business employs around 1,900, while worldwide Waterford Wedgwood employs over 7,000.
Waterford Wedgwood was formed when British businessman Anthony O’Reilly merged Irish crystal manufacturer Waterford with iconic British china brand Wedgwood in 1986 in a drive to build a major luxury goods group focused on home and related products. Waterford Wedgwood expanded into such areas as pots and pans through the purchase of All-Clad and O’Reilly claimed he saw potential to push into other luxury goods sectors such as leather goods. But the firm failed to realize those goals, All-Clad eventually was sold and much of Waterford Wedgwood’s production is now outside the U.K. and Ireland. O’Reilly and his brother-in-law, Peter Goulandris, who still own over half the company’s shares, have resigned as directors, as has the rest of the board.
In recent weeks such companies as Woolworths, Hardy Amies, Ghost, Allegra Hicks, Marchpole, tea merchant Whittards of Chelsea and china suppliers Royal Worcester and Spode have all gone into receivership. Woolworths is closing all its stores, having failed to find a buyer, while the other firms have found or are in the process of seeking buyers.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia