Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 17:01 UK

Wrapit gift firm ceases trading

Woman in wedding dress
Wrapit had encountered severe financial difficulties

Struggling gift list firm Wrapit has ceased trading after attempts to rescue the business failed.

Two thousand couples could lose out on their wedding gifts and some of their guests may not get their money back.

Administrators KPMG said they were seeking a buyer for the business which handled about 3,000 gift lists a year.

Wrapit said purchases made on a credit or Visa debit card would be refunded, but that customers who used a cheque or Switch/Maestro would lose out.

A call centre has been set up to handle customer concerns.

'No choice'

KPMG said Wrapit was left with no choice but to put the firm into administration after it experienced severe financial difficulties.

We're so upset that our guests have wasted their hard earned money
Danika and David Barber, Wrapit customers

"We are seeking a buyer for the business and its assets," said Jane Moriarty of KPMG restructuring.

A KPMG spokesman said that Wrapit owed just under 3.5m to its main creditor HSBC. The firm had never made any money in six years of trading, he added.

KPMG said customers who believed they may be owed money should call 0844 7701301, although some BBC News website readers said they had problems getting through.

Distress

Wrapit helped couples to compile their gift lists and allowed their guests to buy the items online through their website. It would then purchase and deliver the items to the married couple.

Ciara Barr and her husband Travers closed their gift registry with Wrapit in February. She said they had not received any of the 700-worth of presents ordered by their wedding guests.

"We're gutted," she said.

"All our guests bought things that would've had sentimental value," she added.

'Devastated'

New bride Georgina Fletcher contacted the BBC to say that she was "absolutely devastated" by Wrapit's decision to call in the administrators.

"It sounds as though we have no hope of receiving any of the gifts, many of which were paid for by cheque so credit card refunds will in many cases be useless," she said.

Wrapit customers Danika and David Barber got married in June and closed their gift list about 10 days ago.

They are now contacting all their guests to ask them to try to get their money back.

"We're so upset that our guests have wasted their hard earned money, and we're left with none of the reminders we thought we would have over years to come."

Wrapit was co-founded by former fashion journalist Pepita Diamand in 2000.

It wanted to take on big names such as John Lewis and Debenhams with a huge database of gifts to choose from.

As well as its central warehouse in Acton, west London, the firm has two London showrooms and others in Aberdeen, Beaconsfield, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Canterbury, Darlington, Glasgow, Harrogate, Manchester, Newbury, Newcastle and Norwich.

Suppliers also hurt

Wrapit's suppliers have also been kept in the dark about the company's financial difficulties.

Stephen McGraw, managing director at Riedel Crystal in Stoke-on-Trent, said his firm had been trying to obtain payment since last year for goods it supplied to Wrapit and had even resorted to taking legal action against the firm.

"Although I understand that the impact on couples who are marrying is traumatic and emotional as well as financial, please spare a thought for the very many suppliers to Wrapit who have lost out, without any real possibility of recovering the debt now," he said

"Today, we are left with debts which are in five figures, and without any real chance of payment. This is something we can ill afford and has a major impact on our business," Mr McGraw added.


SEE ALSO
Q&A: Wrapit unravels
04 Aug 08 |  Business
Fears for wedding gift list firm
25 Jul 08 |  Business
Worries for wedding gifts website
25 Jul 08 |  Business
Tied up in knots on a wedding day
11 Jun 08 |  Business

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