Patisserie Valerie admits there is ‘much still to do’ in short-term turnaround

Patisseries Valerie’s new management team has said “there remains much to do” to catch up on a significant backlog of unpaid invoices.

The retailer nearly collapsed in October after it was found to have significantly overstated how much cash it had.

Several investigations are ongoing to find out when this started, and by whom, as well as understanding how it was not uncovered by the company’s board or auditors.

Shares in Patisserie Valerie have been suspended since October 10 and the group has provided little in the way of public updates in two months, beyond announcing personnel changes and the appointment of RSM UK as its auditors.

Nick Perrin, interim CFO at Patisserie Valerie

However interim chief financial officer Nick Perrin has written to MP Rachel Reeves, who is chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, responding to a request from her committee for more information over Patisserie Valerie’s failure to publish information about its payment practices.

Perrin said: “The group recognises its responsibilities to suppliers and is determined to correct the historical position. This is a complex and time-consuming task.

“We are gradually ensuring that overdue payments are made and that terms agreed with suppliers are adhered to, but there remains much to do to complete this task.”

He added: “It was previous management (who have now left the business) who did not publish reports on the group’s payment practices and so I am not able to explain why they did not do so.”

Perrin also told Reeves that they “are working to rectify the payment position” and he expects it will be six months before the company has “representative data” to publish.

Perrin is part of a new management team which has been brought together since November following the departures of finance director Chris Marsh and chief executive Paul May.

Steve Francis has come in as chief executive and Rhys Iley joined as group commercial director.

The police, the Financial Reporting Council and PwC, on behalf of the company, are continuing to investigate the apparent £40m black hole in Patisserie Valerie’s accounts.