Home Industry News Darker Enterprises placed into receivership

Darker Enterprises placed into receivership

Darker Enterprises placed into receivership

ETO has learned that Darker Enterprises, the firm behind retail chain Private Shops, has been placed into receivership under the control of business recovery specialists Begbies Traynor.

In its prime in the early noughties, Darker, which also had wholesale and mail order divisions, operated over 100 licensed stores in the UK but in recent years it had significantly downsized its portfolio. Speaking to ETO in 2018, director Mike Wallace said: “These are difficult times for every retail sector, even for people like Marks & Spencer. The brightest people on the block are struggling and closing shops. Just to survive is a plus.”

Its branches had always been stereotypical ‘back street sex shops’ but in 2014 Darker began refreshing both their appearance and stock profile, opting for a contemporary purple colour scheme, refitting the interiors, and showcasing more female-friendly products. But this was not without its challenges, as approval was required from every individual council before any changes could be made: in some cases, the planning process just to change the colour scheme took over a year and costs could run to four figures.

Discussing the future of bricks and mortar retail in that 2018 ETO interview, Wallace said: “A lot will depend on how the economy performs around Brexit. We used to think the adult retail industry was recession-proof but that’s no longer the case.”

ETO understands that a significant number of Darker’s stores have been, or are in the process of being, acquired and will continue to trade.

We hope to update this story when more details are known.