Skip to content

Entrepreneurs Panel

Tony Caldeira
Laura Tenison
Jennie Johnson
Brian Hay
Charlie Mullins
Michael Oliver
Steve Purdham
David Pollock
Julie Meyer
Richard O'Sullivan
Debbie Pierce
Jeremy Roberts

Richard Branson failures unmasked

The failures of three of Sir Richard Branson’s companies have been revealed.

According to reports in the Times Sir Richard accumulated operating losses of more than £300 million from the Virgin Megastores retail business.

The 125 UK stores were sold two years ago to Zavvi, which went into administration at the end of 2008.

Virgin Holdings, a company that owns a number of Sir Richard’s businesses, submitted its accounts for the year to the end of March 2008 only last week and they reveal the full extent of the Megastore losses. The accounts show that the company’s profits plummeted from £151.7 million in 2007 to a loss of £227.3 million after being hit with a one-off operating loss of £324.3 million.

A Virgin Group spokesman told the Times that this was because of losses accumulated over many years at the Megastores, which were formally written off when the business was sold.

Virgin Holdings, which includes Sir Richard’s profitable rail and airline businesses, wrote off nearly £21 million when it sold Virgin Vie cosmetics to a management buyout. It paid a further £8.8 million to remove the Virgin name from the company.

Meanwhile, accounts for Barfair, another Virgin holding company, reveal that the assets of Virgin Bride were sold for only £1 after the closure of its last store in Manchester.

  • Ian Wright, founder and chief executive of, is bringing together SMEs and NEDs - without the hefty recruitment fees.

  • Former professional golfer turned entrepreneur Colin Stevens has had a busy 18 months. The Better Bathrooms founder has increased turnover at the firm, secured a multi-million pound investment and...

  • More and more businesses are taking to social media platforms in order to spread the word about what they offer and to interact with customers/clients. There are many benefits, not least the...

  • The Isle of Man (IOM) is famous for many things from Manx cats to kippers, but it is the world famous TT (Tourist Trophy) Races, that the island is most renowned for.

  • What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a watch? A few hundred pounds? A few thousand perhaps? Well how about between £150,000 and £170,000. And yes, that is three zeros you can see so don’t book an...

Five Minutes With

David Hughes sums up his entrepreneurial career to date thus: four spectacular successes and two failures. He founded the sports retailer Allsports and achieved turnover of £180 million before a vicious price war meant decline, administration in 2005 and a sell-off to rival JD Sports.

It took Richard Shonn, managing director of 151 Products, three years to find a warehouse big enough for his requirements.