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Oddbins, La Senza, Habitat, Media Square: Round up of companies that entered administration in 2011


By Stephen Lepitak, -

December 30, 2011 | 4 min read

It’s been a tough year all around for most companies, but a few found the current climate harder than most in 2011, resulting in their administration. The Drum looks back at some of those retailers, publishers and media companies that closed their doors over the last 12 months.

Hawkins Bazaar

Announced yesterday, the owner of toy and novelty gift chain Hawkins Bazaar, Tobar Group, is to enter administration with a debt of over £42m. The company employed over 380 staff across 65 stores UK wide.

La Senza

The high street lingerie retailer, owned by Lion Capital which bought the brand from Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis in 2006 for £100m, has filed for administration owning 158 stores in the UK.

D2 Jeans

Announced yesterday, the Kilmarnock firm’s administrators closed 19 of its 47 UK stores, resulting in over 200 employees losing their jobs.

New McCowans

The maker of Highland Toffee and Wham Bars (both of which were ultimately bought by Tangerine Confectionary) called in administrators in September, with 100 jobs placed at risk.


September also saw the administration of Chorion, the company that owned the rights to popular children’s characters such as the Mr Men, Noddy, Paddington Bear, The Famous Five, as well as the Agatha Christie franchise.

Sport Media Group

The publisher of The Sunday Sport and The Daily Sport entered administration at the beginning of April, which led to the return of The Sunday Sport’s founder David Sullivan buying back the title he first launched in 1986.

Team Bondi

Despite developing the highly anticipated Gangster title, LA Noir that was released in the first half of 2011, the much respected studio was forced to close its doors, with its head Brendan McNamara facing claims from employees of ‘mismanagement‘, claims he quickly denied.

Media Square LTD

The holding company for marketing agencies such as CST The Gate, Smarts, IAS b2b and Holmes & Marchant saw its bank Lloyds refuse to offer help to manage the group’s significant debt levels, which led to chairman Roger Parry and chief executive Peter Reid buying out the group for £11m that same day, securing the future of all group agencies.

HomeForm Group

The closure of HomeForm Group, which included retails such as Kitchens Direct, Dolphin Bathrooms, Sharps Bathrooms and Moben Kitchens in June led to around 1,200 jobs being placed at risk.


The administration of the much loved furniture retailer in June led to all but three London stores being closed, with Argos owner Home Retail Group saving the brand for around £25m, but still led to the closure of 30 other outlets across the UK.

Drive Business

Following its administration in October, the Ayrshire e-commerce agency fell into the hands of Grant Thornton, with 100 members of staff fearing for their jobs.


Now relaunched, the high street wine retailer as forced to close in March with debts of around £20m. It was then taken over by EFB Group, which stated its intention to make buying wine ‘fun again’ for consumers.

TJ Hughes

Another retailer that faced the abyss in June, the discount department store chain was placed into the hands of Ernst & Young after 99 years in operation. A handful of stores were saved from closure and the brand name preserved when bought by Lewis’s.

Grafik Magazine

Despite only relaunching in February under its new owner, French publisher Design Flux, it was announced in December that the magazine was to close. The magazine’s previous publisher, Adventures in Publishing, went into administration in June 2010. The editorial team of the magazine has promised to return ‘with something new and exciting’ in 2012 however.

Focus DIY

The DIY retailer was administrated in May, with 13 of its 178 stores sold to Wickes Building Suppliers and 31 to B&Q owner Kingfisher.

Brilliant Media

After the loss of two huge accounts - DFS and ASDA, Brilliant was taken over by WPP owned MediaCom, which had picked up the DFS account earlier in the year.

Jane Norman

The fashion chain was forced to close its 89 stores across the UK in June, with reported debts of around £140m, employing nearly 1,600 people at the time.

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