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Julie Palmer, Regional Managing Partner at RBR Advisory, was back in the Sky News studio last week following the news of Patisserie Valerie falling into administration.

The cafe chain had collapsed after the failure of rescue talks with banks and administrators immediately looked to close 70 outlets with the remaining 121 continuing to trade in the hope of finding a buyer.

In October, Patisserie Valerie uncovered “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”.

Julie was quizzed on Ian King Live as to how another big high street name could collapse and if the company had any chance of a rising from the ashes.

“It’s a large company; a listed company, with £0.5bn of shareholder value wiped out overnight so, not surprisingly, the shareholders are garnering their forces to say ‘this needs to be looked at’ and it needs properly looking at because people need to have faith in the markets they’re dealing with. And if this continues to happen – and it has continued to happen – how can people have that sort of faith?”

“I think it has to because this was a company for which there were no red flags about. It traded steadily, its share performance had been good, it was reporting profits of £10m – £15m per year on a steady basis.”

When asked if the situation was likely to undermine the public’s confidence in the consumer marketplace, Julie replied:

“I think it has to because this was a company for which there were no red flags about. It traded steadily, its share performance had been good, it was reporting profits of £10m – £15m per year on a steady basis; this just came out of the blue so if it can happen with this company, why won’t it happen with another company? And how can people have faith in the markets they’re trading in?”

On the possibility of a buyer coming forward to take the company forward, Julie said:

“I think they (potential buyers) will come forward. It is an established brand. Does the man on the street really care too much about this when he goes to buy his cakes? He probably doesn’t. They’re in good locations and I think one thing that the administration has already achieved is to look very critically at those locations and say ‘which are the better stores that we should keep open?’ so it’s trimmed its portfolio overnight by about a third of those stores and cherry-picked the better bits of the portfolio and I think there will be a number of interested buyers and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it sold as a going concern.”

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