Updated Apple's community of third party sellers shrunk slightly this week when retail chain Solutions Inc shuttered stores and called in an administrative receiver FRP Advisory.
The Apple Premium Reseller (APR) closed outlets in Bournemouth, Chelmsford, Chichester, Guildford and St Albans. El Reg understands the Hove HQ remains open, for the time being at least. The online store still seems to be trading.
The Reg has seen an email sent to staff by managing director John Parvin to confirm that "regrettably" the company "ceased to trade as of today 7pm, Monday 18th February 2019. With immediate effect all Solutions Inc Ltd APR stores are now closed".
Then with some warmth, the email added: "Do not come to work tomorrow. Do not attempt to re-enter the store for any reason.
"Any attempt to access the store will result in the police being called and a delay in proceedings. We wish to assist with the fastest resolution to outstanding salaries, pension and redundancy."
Any Solutions Inc employees with personal belongings left at their place of work were told to reply to Parvin's email to have their things sent to their home. Staff were also urged to contact FRP Advisory.
Parvin signed off by saying: "I can only apologise for this sad news."
The company website confirmed Solutions Inc had informed Apple of the closure and was working with the company to "assist all customers affected by this closure".
Consumers with warranty enquiries are being directed to contact Apple's support page and those that bought all other brands are urged to "contact the manufacturer direct".
Solutions Inc, incorporated in 1994, last filed P&L accounts at Companies House for the year ended 30 June 2017 (PDF) which showed a dip in turnover to £12.09m from £12.48m. It employed 53 people on average in that year.
The accounts noted a fall in sales of computers and iPads, partly offset by "lower margin" iPhones. Solutions Inc also highlighted that the post-Brexit price rise Apple introduced in November 2016 following the fall of the British pound versus the US dollar had dampened demand.
The accounts noted: "The retail environment in general has gone through difficult times recently. There has been a rise in online sales of the products we sell in our stores. These are often at a discount from the retail price. However the sale of Apple products overall has been on the increase."
The company had been looking at opening another physical store, though that didn't materialise.
Solutions Inc posted a £199k loss for the year compared to a £14k loss in the prior year.
Apple itself has seen its fortunes decline in recent months, with falling iPhone demand leading to a glut of stock sat in the supply chain. In its peak holiday season buying quarter, its Q4, iPhone revenue fell 15 per cent year-on-year.
The Register is awaiting a statement from FRP Advisory.
FRP Advisory has sent us a statement to confirm that all six stores were in fact shuttered on 18 February due to "cashflow difficulties". It added that all 53 employees had been made redundant. ®