Administrators appointed to JC Rook and Sons Limited
In a surprise announcement, it has been confirmed that Kent butchery chain JC Rook and Sons has been placed in administration, with the administrators saying a fall in trade throughout the Covid lockdowns impacted the business and affected its profitability.
Commenting on the sad development, Andrew Rook who, until his retirement around 10 weeks ago, was a 50% shareholder in the business, said the news came as a total shock to him and as far as he was aware the business was on a secure footing for the future.
Mr Rook commented: “We had a record Christmas, the best in 8-years and I thought I had left the business in a good position moving forward. Personally I was counting on income over future years as a main part of the sale of shares to the new owners and I would not have agreed to that had I thought there was any prospect of the business failing. There is still much to look in to.”
Rook said as far as he was concerned the retail side of the business had coped well with the Covid problem, which was difficult but not disastrous, but he did confirm that the foodservice part of the company had suffered during lockdown periods.
Neil Gostelow and Will Wright from Interpath Advisory were appointed joint administrators to JC Rook and Sons Limited on 14th March 2022.
In a statement the administrators said that ‘the family-owned butcher traded from 11 retail stores across East and Mid Kent, as well as operating a Food Standards Agency approved production and distribution facility in Ramsgate and a food service facility in Shoreham.’
The statement added: ‘The Company suffered trading losses in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, primarily due to constraints from lockdown closures which were then exacerbated further through the Omicron variant in late 2021 during what would be their peak season in the run up to Christmas. The directors concluded that with the deteriorating trading position, the Company would need to go through an insolvency process.
‘Following legal advice, the directors made the decision to close all 11 stores before the appointment of the joint administrators. Operations at the production facility in Ramsgate also ceased.’
Meat Management understands that the majority of the Company’s 155 employees have been made redundant, with the joint administrators retaining a small number of staff to assist them with the administration process.
Neil Gostelow, managing director at Interpath and joint administrator, said: “JC Rook and Sons was a well-established and well-respected family business that had been operating across Kent for over 50 years. Sadly, the impact of the pandemic on trading meant that the directors had to take the difficult decision to place the Company into administration. Our immediate priority is to assist those members of staff who have been made redundant, providing them with the information they need to be able to make claims from the Redundancy Payments Office.”
JC Rook and Sons was founded by Joseph Rook in 1965, with his first shop opening in Dover, followed by many other branches across Kent.
As recently as last weekend the business had customers through its doors at shops in Broadstairs, Deal, Dover, Folkestone, Gillingham, Herne Bay, Hythe, Maidstone, South fleet, Ramsgate and Sittingbourne. All shops are now currently closed.
Andrew Rook added: “I am devastated by what has happened and for me, it came out of the blue. It was a decision over which I had no personal control having disposed of my shares and I was planning on receiving an income from the business over the years to come. I am desperately sorry for those who have lost their jobs. JC Rook was a successful and innovative business with a great history over many years and a strong pedigree. It is very hard to accept what has happened.”