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Independent optician sold out of administration 18 September 2013

London’s largest independent optician, Designville, which trades as 2020 Optical Store, has been sold out of administration.

Designville entered administration in May, with Lloyd Hinton and Tony Hyams of Marriots Recovery appointed as joint administrators.

Recovery specialist Winterhill Largo assisted in the sale of the business to Vision Express for an undisclosed sum.

Neil Duckworth, chief executive of Winterhill Largo, said the deal was a challenging assignment.

He explained: “Designville’s financial problems stemmed from the economic downturn, exacerbated by the collapse of a laser eye surgery business to which they were sub-letting part of the store, and the news had already reached the public domain.

“We worked closely with the joint administrators from Marriotts Recovery, who decided to continue to trade the business as a going concern, retaining key staff, while also actively seeking a buyer.”

The Bloomsbury-based store, which specialises in Seiko, Carl Zeiss and Nikon spectacle lenses, generated annual sales of around £3.4m, employed 25 people and had been trading for more than 20 years prior to entering administration.

The sale of Designville to Vision Express was completed prior to June’s rent quarter date, with secured creditors paid in full.

Preferred creditors are “expected to be fully paid” with “significant repayments” expected to be distributed to the company’s unsecured creditors.

Finance for the wage roll and various other essential supplies was provided by short term funding provider, Winterhill Liquidity, enabling the joint administrators to continue to trade the business.



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