Deathwatch: La Senza and Past Times on brink of administration

24 December 2011

la_senza retail deathwatchTwo more well-established high street names are shambling towards the scrapheap with both La Senza and Past Times on the brink of administration just hours before the end of pre-Christmas trading.

Both chains have filed a notice of intention to appoint KPMG as administrator, unless they can be rescued over the next few days. So one of you might get either or both companies in your Christmas stocking, if you’re unlucky enough.

La Senza was previously owned by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis, although it is unknown whether he ever spent any of his kids’ inheritance money on revealing lacy goodies for Mrs. P. The brand name wont disappear though, as its parent company is a separate entity in the USA and will probably cherry-pick the profitable stores from the UK chain.

Meanwhile, Past Times has been selling highly-priced olde worlde tat for years and we’re amazed it’s lasted this long. It previously fell into administration in December 2005.

TOPICS:   High Street News

58 comments

  • Raggedy
    I for one will be sorry to see La Senza go. I often pop in the local store to splash out on some matching underwear sets but they keep asking me to leave.
  • Businessman
    Same here it's jizz ridiculous.
  • Dave
    D2 jeans going bust as well.
  • Bilbo B.
    Terrible news, I often pop into pop into Past Times to get my staff polished, they love giving my length a good brisk rub.
  • JD64
    All started going wrong for La Senza when they changed their colour scheme to resemble something closer to a brothel.
  • Delenn
    Interesting you mention brothel JD64, that was my OHs comment. They seem to have crossed the line between sexy/naughty/classy and slutty/trashy, and that is putting women off.
  • Paschal
    as an employee of past times i found your comment ill informed as manny hundreds of thousands of coustomers will support my view that the high street will be a darker place without past times and other retailers like them .and what quaualifys you as to what the public want . as a store manager my team and i have helped so many people to find the perfect gift this christmas and we are sure each and every recipant will be pleasantly surprised . but the callous way you dispose of this company in two lines, gives no credit to its hardworking staff and managenment who are puting on a brave face for their families today ,unsure of the future but not reasured in any way by your feed to the market or any poential buyer . to everyone at past times have a very merry christmas Paschal (Hastings )
  • Kevin
    Past Times used to be good. Since they last went out of business it's been low quality tat instead of the high quality stuff people really didn't need.
  • Allan
    Paschal, I think we know what the public want since you are on the brink of administration, if you had what the public wanted then surely you wouldn't be in such a position. I understand where you are coming from regarding staff and the uncertainty but you and your staff are not alone... It is a sign not only of a tough marketplace but of excessive commercial rents and rates and can only see more of these problems on the horizon. Allan
  • Piss T.
    Past Times= crap.
  • davie
    D2 jeans next to go bust. Inside info. will happen on wednesday. Website already down.
  • Chewbacca
    If past times employs people like Paschal as managers (quaualifys? really?!?!) then they deserve all they get. Borderline illiterates in charge of stores does not a good business plan make.
  • Jack F.
    Firstly I would like to point out that Past Times do not sell over priced Tat. We sell popular quality gifts inspired by the past, I would also like to make point that in the current high street there is no other retailer offering not only our broad range or our excellent and personal customer service. I am a store Manager for the company in a store that has been highly successful for the past few years, and having to tell my experienced and competant team of proffessional Managers and Sales Advisors on christmas eve was not a pleasant task. However I will point out Past Times are not gone yet and an investor will be found in that I am confident. So for those of you making flippant and unfounded comments , firstly check your facts secondly why not visit one of our stores as you obviously have not been in before and thirdly lets hope this does not happen to you.
  • Chewbacca
    @Jack Frost Proffessional? Really? Is it a prerequisite for Past Times store managers to be borderline illiterates?
  • Past H.
    I'm also a manager at Past Times, we have been 'instructed' to post positive comments on this and a number of other websites defending the commpany. Even though i'm going to be out of a job with no redundancy soon I must say that Past Times is a rediculous company, the steps taken to keep the business running since 2005 have mainly involved buying much cheaper, much more shoddy goods and selling them at the same Prices as our Previous quality stock. Nobody in my store has bought anything for over a year- staff members I mean- and the top brass have thier kiss ass favourites. Many demeaned managers have been working out their own bonus schedules for over a year. I'm glad I won't have to work here any more, hell i'm not even opening the bloody shop tomorrow.
  • jack f.
    we do not have a store at ridgemont high
  • Dick
    I went in a Past Times last week, had a quick look and left. 50% of their stock seemed to be Keep Calm stuff. They will soon be stocking signs that say "Keep Calm and Get Down the Job Centre"
  • Kevin
    Past Times is now crap. It used to be quality products witha few books and 'popular' stuff like WW2 related things. They are a piss poor representation of what they used to be. It looks more like one of the various weak book and toys/crafts shops like Bookzone than anything else. Although Bookzone are great value for money.
  • Bookzone f.
    Bookzone haven't been the same since the gay one died though.
  • Chewbacca
    Highly coincidental the the three "managers" that have posted on here have displayed the same levels of literacy... Multis much?
  • Anonymous
    I am employed by past times, not a manager like the other person claims to be. It is horrible news, the only part bugging me is how all the staff and managers get the blame. We don't decide what stock to buy unfortunately. They keep sending us the same old stuff that doesn't sell instead of the expensive stuff that does! They are not closed yet but I really hope something comes u in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully with new people owning it they might sort it all out!
  • PT
    I also work for Past Times, Its a great company to work for, and everyone pulls together as a team. Regardless to what people think of our stock now and then, what sickens me about all these posts are the personal attacks to the managers who have commented. Who the hell are you to judge us just because we work for past times? or feel strongly enough to stand up for the name. Oh no we didn't type perfect English.... doesn't make us poor managers or the reason behind the current situation. Do you know us personally? NO! So get back to your own sad pathetic little lives – ha-ha Chewbacca I bet your a sad old man with no life playing world of warcraft with a name like that! Not so nice is it?!! And how about you all spare a thought for us, do you think it's fun not knowing what's happening? The last thing we need is to read narrow minded comments, or for our customers to read up and see the negativity. Yes everyone is entitled to an opinion, but nobody has the right to be personally vindictive to the staff who are standing up for what they believe in.
  • simon
    Yep d2jeans will go in admin 28th Dec 2011 - hopefully someone will save all the stores as i like this chain and it has some good stores under itsbelt
  • Chewbacca
    Very strong multis ITT......
  • Tom
    @Chewbacca 'Highly coincidental the the three...' I sure hope you're not in any important position.
  • John
    @Chewbacca 'Highly coincidental the the three...' I sure hope you're not in any important position.
  • bob
    @Chewbacca 'Highly coincidental the the three...' I sure hope you're not in any important position.
  • melanie
    I worked for Past Times until recently when I saw the light and left. They would not be in such a mess if they listened to their staff and did not make favourites of the people best able to brown nose. Not always to best to agree if the orders from above do not make any sense. However there are plenty of hard working people who can spell!!!! They are not given the chance to shine as they push the status quo and this is not encouraged. Personally I think if the company is rescued they need to sack head office staff and start again.
  • Chewbacca
    @Chewbacca ‘Highly coincidental the the three…’ I sure hope you’re not in any important position.
  • Gemma
    I work for Past Times, Worcester . Do you negative bitchy little people have nothing better to do. Over a thousand people are losing yet more jobs, we all have families to support , Bills to pay. We don't need to hear comments such as these. I understand everyone is feeling the pinch from this recession . But why do you have to make such nasty comments. If you have nothig good or supportive to say then SHUT UP.
  • Dick
    I don't care if you lose your job, you can pull together as a team as you sign on.
  • Steve T.
    Look you snivelling little minimum wage oiks, we'll do whatever we want with the bloody company. You'll be better off in benefits anyway. Help yourself to any stock you want, none of it is worth more than 10p anyway.
  • Chewbacca
    @Gemma, Notwithstanding the VERY obvious multis on here - look at your imminent redundancy as an opportunity! Go back to school-learn how to spell, how to type, even where capital letters should appear in a sentence! Then go and work somewhere decent. Enjoy :-)
  • melanie
    Well I chose to leave and it was the best thing I could have done, the company have no loyalty to their staff dispite being "one big family" as told to us on several occasions, it is a worry but a fantastic new start. It cannot have come as a surprise as I could see the way things were going back in the summer.
  • Snow W.
    I left past times a couple of months ago, and I can honestly say its the best thing I've ever done. I feared for our shop as we weren't taking a lot of money, seemed like every other week we were in sale, then back to another offer. The stores policy to greet all customers in under 30 seconds received many complaints from the customers. The individual sales target system brought out such nastiness in some colleagues and constantly felt like you were fighting against each other, seeing who could greet the customer the fastest and get the sale. I couldn't agree more with a previous comment stating the bosses having their favourites. I didn't feel very appreciated, numerous occasions I went above and beyond to help the store out and was promised promotion, which never happened. Past Times never seemed to want to give anyone a decent hourly contract, I had an 8 hour contract for a couple of years, new colleagues would join and they would get higher. I did love some of the products and I've worked with some great people, best of luck to the rest of the past times work crew.
  • Big M.
    I agree with Melanie, I've worked for Past Times for a few years now and I enjoyed it in the beginning with a certain boss, it really did feel like I was working with a team of friends. Now two years later, stuck with a store where we get a different manager every 10 months, each worse than the last, I've realized the place has become a real joke of a company. People who can manage to make a window look attractive to customers think they deserve so much praise like they're a dog while store managers just wander about bullshitting to area managers about "doing plenty of hard work and selling" when it's quite clear to those who work in the store that they're utterly useless liars who took on the job because they knew it would be easy. I think it would do the staff of Past Times good if they're all let go. The head office are crap, they can't do marketing or buying stock without making a fuck up out of it. I remember when the stock we had years ago was actually good, now it's stupidly overpriced crap which breaks in a matter of weeks if not days.
  • A P.
    Sadly it just seems that Past Times are one of the many companies struggling at the moment and I wonder how many more will announce they are in financial trouble in the next few weeks now that the Christmas trade has dropped off. As for the trolling Chewbacca, he or she is probably a frustrated English teacher who has nothing better to do while the schools are closed for the holidays. I’d suggest that people don’t take this person’s comments too seriously or personally.
  • A R.
    This thred is made up of retarded fookwits....(Dick yes you are and Steve Past and Rupert Times a retard along with Bilbo and piss times) what the fark do you do for a living ? and what right do you have of making fun of people that could be out of a job...if you were in that position you would be crapping in your sorry pants. My wife works for Past Times as a store manager, she gets the same kind of money that any other manager of a high street store, she has been there a few years and gets well looked after. As for selling tat that is bollox, yes the management have made some stupid calls but you cannot blame the staff you arrogant [email protected] I guess your probably un-educated slackers anyway, as any one with a brain cell would not make such.....anyway I will let you get back to thumbing your La Senza catalouges you sad sad boys.
  • Star H.
    @ Chewbacca who the hell are you ? have you just discovered spell check or something ? these people may be out of a job soon, whereas they will be able to get a new job, you my son will always be an arsehole. So on that basis, and in Gemma's case, she will always be a better person than you.
  • michelle c.
    I will be sad to see la senza go as myself and daughters shop here often. As for past times, I ordered for the first time this xmas online, after seeing a sales offer on hot deals, I wish I hadnt bothered items were tat, to be honest most were far smaller than they portrayed on the site, and although the idea behind many of them was there the delivered items were disappointing even at sale prices. I am a small store owner on a popular market myself and we are really struggling at the moment even with low overheads, so do sympathise, the problem is myself included many people are so careful with money and are hunting out online bargains instead of actually walking round the shops and markets anymore. Our market has seen footfall diminish by half this year, very sad as without the customers we will close after 20 years and when this "recession" is over we will miss some of these stores and markets. To consumers I say think about bargain hunting round the smaller shops, they often have better offers and customer service than the big stores, and keep your town going...
  • A P.
    Actually disregard my previous post. i found out this morning that my wife has been having an affair with Rupert Times- much more 'looked after' than our marriage should allow.
  • The P.
    I see fake posting (December 30, 2011 at 9:11 am) is now the way it's going...... I think I'll go back to the real world and talk to grown-ups who can hold decent levels of conversation and have a decent level of intellect so this will be my last post. Good luck to the staff at Past Times and La Senza and to those that have posted seriously in this thread.
  • I'm r.
    Have you not seen the comments section on BW before? Do you honestly expect this website to be anything less than bitter and frequently hilarious? Sarcasm, wit, and irreverent, slanderous posting requires 'grown up' intellect with a smattering of schoolboy humour. Anyway, off to see your wife get rogered by the boss- ciao!
  • Chewbacca
    Lighten up, can't you see what BW is like? We're just messing around. That said, if I've upset anybody I'd like to say sorry and offer to suck their cock to make up for it!
  • The P.
    No, I do not find this funny. My wife will shortly be unemployed and she'll have to go back on the game. I'm calling the police about you Mrs Chewbacca.
  • The P.
    I first discovered Past Times in the 90s and was astonished to find the fake Roman stuff actually cost more than the genuine antiquities would cost to buy. My last visit was a few months ago. Full of keep calm and carry on stuff. Sadly, I couldn't find anything worth buying on either occasion and I don't suppose I ever will now.
  • mr f.
    Its not surprising this company has gone this way! I was a store manager for them and we had major stock issues for the last 2.5 years , it seems nothing changes. While it is all very sad it shouldnt be a huge surprise to any of the existing staff really ! Remember , minimum wage = minimum effort. If anyone with an ounze of sense looks at the reports on company house and the recent change of directors you can see there may be moves afoot and I for one wouldnt be surprised if this is all some dark move to leave creditors high and dry while some ex director comes along on his white horse and buys the co for £1 and starts again ...enter Will Hobhouse. I love past times as its a great company !! Much fun and such goodtimes!
  • melanie
    Yes I loved being told that suppliers were letting them down............... loved the team I worked with, but company will never do any good if they keep the same people in place that repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again. Companies House reports make interesting reading. I to looked on this site and reports. As a company they need to listen to feed back from staff instead of treating them like dirt. worst place I have ever worked. Shame as there is potential. When they can't even get sales lists right first time, does not give much hope for anything else. They do not make staff feel valued so motivation drops. this is not rocket science instead of back slapping favourites and people that agree to everything that is proposed they need staff who can say no this is not right for my store or my area. But no interest in anyone who has some balls to say anything.
  • miss s.
    I use to work for past times as a store manager, and I hated every minute. In the time I was there I reguarly witnessed members of upper management use bullying techniques to humiliate store managers who had not achieved the desired figures for that week. The stores in question were ill situated and poorly stocked, and did not meet the desired demographic. The staff in the stores I visited were all lovely and I remain friends with them to this day. I feel for them as they are in limbo and do not know if they will keep their jobs. I do however hope that those at the top of the tree are the first to go...for some of them it won't be the first time...
  • melanie
    Oh yes I remember that special way they had of making you stand out. Amazing what a company can get away with, know about poor stock and low footfall due to area or site, I was compared to large stores and richer areas. Made me feel like I was losing my mind towards the end.I also hope the peoplel at the top go. It can't be a coincidance that the same people are there for the next round.
  • Random
    I worked at Hawkins Bazaar for around 4 years and I know that similar retailers are also struggling, The only light at the end of the tunnel is the possible removal of Past-Times & Hawkins at the same time, will help the other gift retailers from admin to a close survival and save 1000's of jobs for them, but this doesn't help the people who are at Hawkin or PT's.
  • Star H.
    @ Chewbacca • December 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm Lighten up, can’t you see what BW is like? We’re just messing around. That said, if I’ve upset anybody I’d like to say sorry and offer to suck their cock to make up for it! Sorry....it may be a forum for retards to use that have nothing better to do, but to make fun of people that may face unemployment is just crass....as for cock sucking I didn't realise that your a rent boy.
  • Star H.
    Sorry for that last post. I'm going through 'the change' at the moment and took it out on you. Sorry again.
  • Star H.
    Ref the post above it is realy the cheese wand Chewbacca trying to smooth over the fact that Star Wars Hater has found out his true vocation that I sell my bottom for money.
  • melanie
    Such a shame that the company is closing nearly half it stores already, before a buyer has been found. I feel really sorry for the people that have been given less than a weeks notice. Nice one!
  • Anonymous
    Try a days notice. I got into work on the Thursday told were closing on the Tuesday, I had no hours planned till after that so I found outo n my last day. Company does not give a shit about it's staff along as they are ok in their swivel chairs sat at their desks. We all know the real reason they closed half the stores. Consider this as a little inside info, "Past Times have found a buyer but the condition was to get rid of the lower profit stores. They of course only care about their jobs and money so they have agreed. In the next few days you will find that a buyer has been found, surprise surprise."
  • melanie
    I am sorry to hear that, it does not surprise me, they don't give a shit about their staff, when I left after a long time with them no one emailed or rang to say thanks. Thing to take consolation from is that it will happen again as the biggest change that needs to take place is at the very top. They can't seem to learn from their mistakes. Just keep perputating them, trying to run before they could walk. I use to think that a little less ego and more common sense would have helped a great deal.
  • Anonymous
    The head office quite simply put just suck!

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