Uncertain future for 130-year-old fancy dress business as it faces administration

Leeds-headquartered fancy dress business RH Smith & Sons (Wigmakers) Ltd, popularly known as Smiffys, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

The business, which has been trading since 1894, sells costumes and accessories for adults and children looking to dress up for any occasion.

In its latest full accounts made up to 31 March 2023, the firm said it employed an average of 161 people during 2023.

For the year ended 31 March 2023 the company made a pre-tax loss of £3.7m (2022: £92,000 profit) and recorded turnover of £54.7m (2022: £39.6m).

The same report noted that the business’s current external financing agreement would expire on 31 March 2024, with no agreement yet reached on new facilities beyond that date.

In 2022, the company revealed it was embarking on a strategic expansion programme with plans to roll out additional stores.

According to its website, Smiffys distributes nearly 7,500 products to over 2,000 stockists around the world with over 26 million items shipped every year.