Automagic stumbles into receivership

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The Independent Online

Sluggish high street activity and train strikes were blamed for pushing the USM-listed niche retailer Automagic into receivership yesterday.

The key cutter and shoe bar operator's shares were suspended at 26p at the request of the company.

An Automagic spokesmansaid the withdrawal of banking facilities by Barclays had forced the move.

Nigel Vooght and Jo Considine of Coopers & Lybrand, who have been appointed as official receivers, said they were looking to sell Automagic as a going concern and would issue a statement today.

The fall from grace has been swift. Automagic, which has 135 prime- site key cutting and shoe repair outfits, more than doubled its pre-tax profit from pounds 76,000 to pounds 163,000 in the 28 weeks to January 1994 on a reduced turnover of pounds 6.01m following a reorganisation of management and the disposal of its laundry and dry cleaning activity.

Expansion was pencilled in and a programme for launching new outlets was introduced, with heel-bar trade expected to increase on the back of this summer's fashion for stiletto heels.

But new trade failed to materialise and interim results for the 28 weeks ending January 1995 showed a pre-tax profit slump to pounds 20,000 compared with pounds 163,000 for the same period in 1994.

The group blamed the 16 weeks of rail disruption and reduced high street activity.