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AQ/AQ founder seeks to trade through liquidation

The founder of womenswear brand AQ/AQ, Julie Lingard, is attempting to continue trading the business, despite filing for insolvency last month. 

Lingard, who was managing director of AQ/AQ appointed liquidators on 4 July and filed a notice to creditors on 25 July to allow ”the re-use of a prohibited name”.

Insolvency practitioner AABRS was asked to handle the liquidation following a special resolution passed by the company to voluntarily wind up the business.

A statement of affairs filed by AABRS at Companies House shows the company owed £3.7m to creditors including £2.2m to “premium share accounts”. 

Trade and expense creditors are owed £785,703, business loan firm Funding Circle is owed £140,000 and Revenue and Customs is owed £302,266. Unsecured employee claims totalled £36,309. Lingard is noted as holding a £210,000 claim against the business.

A notice filed in The Gazette states that Lingard has applied to a court for a moratorium under rule 22.4 of the Insolvency Act to continue to part or whole of the business, including use the company name.

Under section 216(3) of the Insolvency Act, a director of a company that has gone into insolvent liquidation “may not act as a director of another company that is known by a name which is either the same as the previous company or is so similar as to suggest an association with that company”. 

The director may also not be “directly or indirectly be concerned in the carrying on of a business otherwise than through a company under a name of the kind mentioned, or directly or indirectly being concerned or taking part in the promotion formation or management of any such company”.

Lingard founded the business in 2007 and AQ/AQ is stocked on etailers including Asos and Revolve. At time of writing AQ/AQ’s website is still operating, and there are no public notices that the company has filed for liquidation.

AQ/AQ also has a store at 12 Fouberts Place in London, which the website says is “temporarily closed due to building works”.

AQ/AQ’s latest accounts, for the year to 31 March 2016, show the company suffered a disruption to its operations after a flood at its Leeds warehouse on Boxing Day 2015, which damaged a large quantity of stock.

AQ/AQ said: “This had a significant impact on results during a normally very busy period at the end of December 2015, and affected the last quarter of the financial year. As at the year-end the company suffered a loss of £1.03m and a deficiency of assets of £850,245.

Directors in the company anticipated a loss of £1.6m in revenues, which was partially offset by an insurance claim of £569,500. It also stated that it sought a party to invest £3m into the company.

The accounts note that “the company is pursuing further insurance claims of £1m for the business disruption, however, the director expects to receive in the region of £400,000; this has not been provided for in the current year results”.

Liquidator AABRS declined to comment and AQ/AQ has not replied to a request for comment. Lingard has been contacted for comment.

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