The future of pioneering organic food retailer Planet Organic is “uncertain”, CEO George Dymond has told staff after investment talks reportedly broke down last week.
The comment appears in a letter sent to staff on Thursday seen by Sky News. The broadcaster reported that Planet has placed administrators on standby as it continues rescue talks. The company is also believed to have called a temporary suspension of orders from suppliers as it works on a deal to secure its future.
In the message, Dymond said: “Over the past 12 months, we have been extremely busy fundraising in order to raise money to support the business and unlock our store expansion plan.
“Despite our wonderful stores being largely profitable, a herculean effort by the buying team to improve our margins and a huge improvement in the costs of running both stores and the e-commerce business, it is a fact that the business is still loss-making.
“In reality we have simply not got back to the levels of sales that we were seeing before the pandemic. So, while we have taken every possible action to improve our position, including additional investment from our existing shareholders, we have so far been unsuccessful in raising sufficient funds needed to support the business and the growth plan.”
Earlier in the week, it was reported that Waitrose had unexpectedly pulled out of behind the scenes investment talks with Planet Organic. In November the two retailers announced the launch of a product sharing partnership. The partnership was presented as part of a bold store expansion plan announced in May, but dramatically scaled back earlier this year.
Planet Organic declined to comment at this time.