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
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

    Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

    £40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

    Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent