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Struggling Ortak to close last four stores after failure to find a buyer

JEWELLERY company Ortak is to close its last remaining stores and wind up its business after failing to find a buyer.

The Orkney-based company, which went into administration a year ago, will shut its four retail sites at the end of this month.

Administrators, who have been trading the business since it entered into administration in March 2013, said that they had exhausted attempts to find a buyer.

Talks with prospective buyers broke down without a sale and a decision has been taken to close the business.

James Stephen, BDO business restructuring partner and joint administrator of Ortak Jewellery Limited, said: "Despite an extensive marketing process and discussions with a number of interested parties over the past several months, it was not possible to effect a sale of the Ortak business as a whole."

The company, which was launched in Kirkwall in the late 1960s, once employed 155 staff across Scotland.

It soon became one of the major names in UK jewellery manufacturing.

The company expanded in 2010, investing £130,000 in a new outlet in Stirling and £200,000 in relocating its Glasgow store to the St Enoch Centre.

It trimmed £580,000 off its costs through a pay freeze and other measures. The amount of precious metal in its products was cut in an attempt to keep costs down.

Those measures failed and the firm fell into administration. In 2011, its operating profits slipped to £214,000, compared with £575,000 the year before, while last year it reported a loss of £77,336.

A statement on the firm's website yesterday read 'That's all folks'. Stock is being sold at a discounted price until Sunday.

Mr Stephen said: "Regretfully, manufacturing ceased on 7 March 2014 and it was necessary to make 15 members of staff at the head office in Orkney redundant. Ten members of staff have been retained to assist with the wind down. Ortak's remaining four stores will close by the end of March 2014."

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