Sonex calls in administrators
Parent of 15 Sony Centres runs out of cash
Sonex Communications has called in the administrators to seek a way forward for its 15 ailing Sony Centres.
The firm called in BDO LLP on 13 September after running into financial difficulties, but is continuing to trade with, as yet, no staff redundancies, according to a spokeswoman at Sony.
"Sony Europe will be examining options for the business and the stores moving forward, the details of which will remain confidential until a conclusion is reached", said Sony in a statement sent to The Reg.
"In the meantime all the stores will continue to trade as normal and all product warranties and customer orders related to Sonex Communications-operated stores will be honoured," it added.
Signs that things had gone pear-shaped in Sonex could be seen in its results for the year ended 31 March 2010, when sales slumped by 20 per cent to £24m and losses increased to £2.7m compared to £300,000 the year before.
This is despite the firm shedding £1m in overhead expenses by "efficiency improvements" and cutting stock levels to a more "sustainable level".
Alongside the numbers, Sonex bemoaned the perilous state of consumer spending on the high street, banks' reluctance to extend credit terms and increased competition from online shops and major retailers.
Sonex had operated 13 Debenhams concessions but decided to close these in the last financial year, which ended last March, along with three Sony stores, and had further proposals to slash overheads but it seems these did not work.
BDO did not respond to call for comment. ®
a sign that...
the Sony brand has become a rather old fashioned tarnished one ...
Sony seems to go in cycles these days.
Many years ago they were the best maker of TV's, Video (Betamax was vastly better than VHS) and were the professional choice everywhere.
In the last decade they seem to have been overrun with bean counters, causing good products to be downgraded to save a few pence on components. This results in bad PR and a drop in sales and reputation. Eventuall they then try to reclaim market share by making a few very good products again, until the bean counters start meddling again.
A personal example:
A few years back I got a new DVD-Recorder with Freeview for my mum, we read all the reviews which were all positive and saved ~£50 getting it from Amazon over the high street. It was so good that I upgraded my old LiteOn box a few months later (the excuse was mainly to get a freeview recorder) but the playback of DVD's was also noticable better.
Back in January my sister's old DVD-Recorder failed (the DVD player bit), so we looked for the same model that I and my Mum got as it works so well. That model does not exist anymore there is "new model", to look at is identical just a new part number, but reading the reviews the new model was slow, noisy and was suffering from frequent crashes and corruptions of recorded data, so LG got a sale.
Despite peoples' view of Sony it's still sad that we hear news like this. At the end of the day someone's going to lose their job and there's every chance that it's not a well-paid manager or board member.
Trading under administration is nothing short of soul-destroying. It happened to me about 16 years ago and all the thanks you get is turning up for work one day and finding a note on the shop door and an envelope with your cards in it.