Just weeks after issuing a statement criticising “unfounded speculation” about its financial situation, leading UK natural products wholesaler Tree of Life, together with its sister business The Health Store, has been placed in administration.
Early reports suggest that 140 jobs across the two businesses, which collectively employs 206 people, will go immediately. As well as the job losses there are fears that that unless a buyer can be found quickly, a failure of the two operations could create a supply chain crisis in the health food trade.
Yesterday afternoon a statement appeared on the Tree of Life website saying that Chris Pole and Ryan Grant from Interpath Advisory had been appointed as joint administrators to Tree of Life UK. Today the same announcement appeared on the website for The Health Store.
The joint administrators are reportedly exploring a number of options including seeking a buyer for the businesses.
Pole said: “Regrettably, the loss of business from a key customer, together with the effects of the well documented economic headwinds, including infationary pressures, have been incredibly challenging for Tree of Life UK Limited and Health Stores (Wholesale) Limited.
“Our immediate priority is to assist those members of staff who have been made redundant, and provide them with the information they require to make appropriate claims.”
Both wholesaler operations are owned by Health Made Easy Group, making it the UK’s largest health and wellness distributor, supplying hundreds of brands and over 15,000 SKUs. The group bought The Health Store in 2018, having acquired supplements brand Higher Nature and mint and gum brand Peppersmith earlier in the same year. By 2020 Health Made Easy revenues grew to more than £100m.
The Health Store formed dates back to 1932, when it was formed as a buying group of 50 health food retail businesses, under the auspices of the National Association of Health Stores (NAHS).
“Our thoughts are with all of the staff who have lost their jobs and we are currently working with our members to help them overcome this heavy blow to their supply chain”
Commenting on today’s developments, the NAHS said in a statement: “The loss of Tree of Life and The Health Store will be felt right across our entire industry. Not only was THS a valued patron of the NAHS, but the company was actually set up via NAHS in 1932 to serve the newly evolving health food trade. Our thoughts are with all of the staff who have lost their jobs and we are currently working with our members to help them overcome this heavy blow to their supply chain.”