Rosemary Conley’s lifestyle firms close as TV channel drains coffers


The diet guru Rosemary Conley has seen her lifestyle and magazine companies forced into administration due to declining popularity and overstretching her brand by launching a television channel.

The author and presenter has sold millions of books and fronted many successful shows in her career – but Rosemary Conley Food and Fitness, which sells slimming and health products, and its sister company Quorn House Publishing have now appointed administrators to seek investors to help “move the businesses forward”.

Ms Conley, 67, said yesterday that it had been a “difficult decision” to make and that she herself had not drawn a salary for several months – but she insisted that production on  her magazines would relaunch “as soon as possible”, tweeting last night: “We are already speaking to a prospective investor.”

Ms Conley said the company, based in the Leicestershire village of Quorn, had gone under owing “well under £1m” to suppliers. She said she hoped the companies would get most of this money back.

Ms Conley added: “It’s a day which the team and I have worked incredibly hard to try to avoid but the board and I believe that this is the most responsible course of action to take. We hope that the process of administration will give us more options and help us to transform the business through new investment.”

Production has been suspended on the company’s magazine, with six redundancies expected. The firm said the appointment of administrators would allow it to be restructured in a positive way for “all stakeholders”, rather than liquidation or bankruptcy, which would involve a breakup of the business and the sale of assets.

Rosemary Conley fitness classes, which are operated across the country by independent franchisees, are not affected by the administration process. Much of the financial problems in the Rosemary Conley Food and Fitness are attributed to the cost of launching a dedicated television channel – which failed to make returns after a £1m investment and had been “draining resources for a number of years”, according to the company. In a statement, it said that the magazine arm of the  business, Quorn House Publishing Ltd, also struggled, with a slump in sales blamed for the company’s financial problems.

Mrs Conley, who has written a number of health books and presented many fitness films, was made a CBE in 2004 and given the Freedom of the City of Leicester in 2009.

Born in 1946 to Celia, a housewife entrepreneur, and Oswald, a hosiery wholesaler, she started her first business in 1971 with an investment of £8, selling it a decade later for £52,000.

In 1988 that her Hip and Thigh Diet book sold more than 2 million copies and cemented her as one Britain’s most revered fitness gurus in a market that has continued to battle in volatile conditions. She now lives near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, with her husband and business partner Mike Rimmington.

Mark Hopkins of Elwell and Watchorn and Saxton, who has been appointed joint administrator, said: “The board has taken a responsible decision, going into early administration creates a restructuring opportunity. Sadly the process involves some difficult decisions including [making] employees redundant.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

    Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

    £30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

    Day In a Page

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
    Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

    Escape from Everest base camp

    Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
    Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

    What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

    Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
    Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

    Gossip girl comes of age

    Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
    Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

    Goat cuisine

    It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
    14 best coat hooks

    Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

    Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?