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4 retailers that circled back from administration

As trade union GMB claims there are “genuine grounds for hope” over the future of collapsed retailer Wilko, as possible buyers circle, InternetRetailing looks at the stricken retailers which have made a comeback after falling into administration.


Last year, the retailer returned to profit for the first time it was bought out of administration in 2019, by Canadian retailer Sunrise Records.

In the year that ended 30 May 2022, HMV reported pre-tax profits of £1.97 million, compared with a loss of £243,000 the previous year.

Sales shot up 67% to £150.79 million for the year, as the company started shifting away from CDs and DVDs and instead, focused more on pop-culture items and vinyls.

As a result of its successful year, the omnichannel announced the reopening of its flagship store on Oxford Street, London, after a four-year absence.

“The expansion of our fan-focused pop culture offer is really working for us and the reopening of our flagship represents the culmination of a good few years of hard work,” HMV boss Doug Putman said.

“We are also opening stores in Europe this year, so while it is the culmination of one phase of work, more excitingly we see it as the launch pad for an exciting new era for HMV.”


In 2018, Maplin collapsed into administration after failing to secure a deal from potential buyers.

The move made 2,500 employees redundant after the retailer called in Zelf Hussain, Toby Underwood and Ian Green from PwC to handle the process.

At the time Maplin CEO Graham Harris said: “I can confirm this morning that it has not been possible to secure a solvent sale of the business and as a result, we now have no alternative but to enter into an administration process.”

However, a year later, Maplin relaunched as an online-only retailer.

The brand, including its domain and social media handles, was sold to a mystery buyer after administrators from PwC were appointed.

British Home Stores (BHS)

The department store retailer subsequently closed its physical stores in 2016 after facing administration.

The collapse saw 163 stores close, affecting 11,000 jobs, despite campaigns to save the business and searches for potential buyers.

However, a month later, the company relaunched in the UK as an online-only retailer stocking a range of lighting and home furnishing products.

Toys ‘R’ Us

In 2018, the toy retailer officially went into administration, putting 3,000 UK jobs at risk. At the time, joint administrator Simon Thomas said: “Whilst this process is likely to affect many Toys R Us staff, whether some or all of the stores will close remains to be decided.”

Four years after closing its stores Toys R Us and sister brand, Babies R Us, announced a UK comeback in October last year.

The website was launched weeks before Christmas, with a statement: “We’re back! We’re so excited to see you!”

However, earlier this year it was revealed the company struck a partnership with WH Smith, opening nine concessions within the stationary retailer.

At the time, WH Smith high street managing director Sean Toal said: “At WHSmith, we’re always exploring new opportunities to launch exciting, new product ranges to our customers on the high street, and our partnership with Toys R Us certainly does this.”

“The brand has long been known for its exceptional range of toys and games and complements our existing offer well.

“Across each of the nine locations, we have a great team of colleagues who look forward to welcoming many new and existing customers over the coming weeks and showcasing the new store layout.”

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