Baked potato specialist Spudulike is closing all 37 of its branches, with nearly 300 jobs being lost in the process.
The latest former household name to disappear from the high street, Spudulike was founded in Edinburgh in 1974 and was hugely popular in the 1980s and ‘90s.
A household name
The business was famously associated with Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke’s comedy characters Wayne and Waynetta Slob, who named their daughter Spudulika.
Comedian Victoria Wilson’s use of the pronunciation ‘Spu-doo-lickay’ is another classic comedy moment featuring the chain, which was familiar nationwide.
But in recent years the chain has struggled, and its closure comes following an unsuccessful bid to get backing from landlords for a restructure.
Will my local Spudulike close?
The branches that will close are widespread, from Dundee to Plymouth, and include the shop on Oxford Street in London.
Staff have been made redundant without back pay or holiday pay, and administrators Neil Bennett and Alex Cadwallader of Leonard Curtis were appointed late last week.
Workers have reported being owed up to £500 in back pay, while others complained about the lack of notice, some learning of the closure while they were at work.
The company, which also trades under the name Fat Jackets, previously tried to restructure using an insolvency process called a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).
This process is used to shed unprofitable branches, and has been put into place by a string of companies in the past year including Debenhams and Topshop’s owner, Arcadia Group.
However, landlords have said that they were shocked by the rent reductions demanded by Spudulike, which were far higher than those demanded by other companies going through CVA.
The failure of the CVA, followed by an unsuccessful search for a new buyer, promoted the arrival of the administrators.
Mr Bennet, of Leonard Curtis, told The Guardian, “We are very disappointed with the outcome.
“Sadly, a sale of the business and assets of the group on a going-concern basis did not prove possible following the last-minute withdrawal of an offer that was close to completion.”