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New Celtic Sheepskin & Co boss outlines turnaround plan

The new managing director of The Celtic Sheepskin Co has spoken of her plans to go “back to its roots” after its existing owners bought it out of administration in a pre-pack deal.

The Cornish retailer, which trades as Celtic & Co, hit the buffers at the start of February after racking up losses of almost £2m. Kath and Nick Whitworth, who acquired the company in 1990, have bought the business and assets from administrators for £60,328. Piper Private Equity took an undisclosed stake in the business in 2011. The newly formed company is called Celtic Sheepskin & Co.

New managing director Emily Bates, who was previously marketing director, said the retailer would return to its core ranges in a bid to become profitable again.

Bates told Drapers: “We’re going back to our roots. Our top 10 products include slippers, boots and chunky knitwear and these are what our customers want. We’re focusing on our heritage rather than going off and doing lifestyle clothing, which we had been doing.”

The business, which has made seven of its 52 staff redundant, will cut costs by reducing the catalogues it produces each year, from nine to around four.

Bates said it may seek new retail partners next year but that the current focus was on returning to profit.

The Celtic Sheepskin Co fell into administration owing about £1.9m to suppliers. Bates said creditors had each been paid about a third of the money owed during the administration process and talks are being held at an individual level about the outstanding amounts. The new company confirmed production had resumed.

About 75% of Celtic Sheepskin & Co’s turnover comes from online, with mail-order and indie stockists making up the rest.

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