Creditors of Ann Summers have approved a plan which would slash rents at
two dozen of its stores. The company said that 90% of votes had been cast in favour of its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which switches 25 of its stores onto turnover-base rents.
The firm had already agreed new rents with the landlords at
91 of its other branches, it confirmed earlier this week when announcing the plan.
No jobs will be lost, or stores closed as part of the CVA.
A Sydney sex shop owner has revealed how an idea created to help her store survive lockdown has turned into a money-maker, with the shop citing doubled revenues.
The idea was born during Australia's total lockdown of non-essential shops. Eloise
Monaghan, the founder of Honey Birdette, explained:
I was frightened for my brand but it made us think, 'right, what can we do?'
So we did virtual appointments, Zoom rooms, Insta rooms, virtual
erotic book readings -- but private appointments were the COVID option that really emerged as a banger.
Honey Birdette revealed it doubled its revenue by closing its doors to the public and opening up for private shopping experiences.
Customers are then given a glass of champagne on arrival and the privacy to explore everything the label has to offer, with the limited number of guests ensuring COVID-Safe practices are upheld.
The idea proved so popular, Honey Birdette voluntarily
closed the doors of a store to the public altogether, only accepting private bookings made through the brand's website.
In the next few months a new appointment-only store will open and it's only the beginning for the global brand, with plans to roll
it out in other cities and countries.
Since beginning what can only be described as an unforgettable adventure back in 1999 when the doors first opened at 129 Brook Street, Chester, Nice 'n' Naughty have been an adult chain that has happily changed with the times.
For 21 years, Nice 'n' Naughty have been trend setters in the adult industry, from the early days where they challenged Chester City Council to be allowed to put mannequins in their store windows to the present day where they battled
to take their rightful place on the High Street.
Located on Sankey Street, a main thoroughfare in Warrington, Boutique by Nice & Naughty is the new face of the company and a flagship store for the adult industry, offering a truly unique customer experience.
Trish Murray, who has been with the company from the very beginning, has seen not only the adult industry change in the past 21 years but also the general shopping experience, she explains; "the High Street as we know it has changed drastically over
the years, and for any company to survive in bricks and mortar stores, you must evolve."
"Following a luxurious refurbishment of the very first Nice 'n' Naughty store in Chester, we saw the potential that the Boutique
model offered, giving our customers not only the best products on the market and outstanding customer service, but also a superior shopping environment and we have replicated this in the new Sankey Street store and will continue with this theme in 2021
As life has been anything but normal this year Trish is proud that the company has been able to support and look after all their staff throughout what has been a challenging time. Trish says, "The decision
was made by our Senior Team, to close the stores prior to the Government announcement. We have parents and some staff who are high risk and we felt our responsibility to protect them was greater than it was to open the stores. We also guaranteed everyone
100% of their pay including any bonuses earnt so that there was no additional stress or worry and it was the right decision. We are now enjoying being back and having that interaction with our customers once again, albeit at a safe distance."
Nice 'n' Naughty have remained accessible via their Website throughout the pandemic offering home delivery across the country and have tried to brighten the mood a little via their multiple Social Media platforms. The Website is
currently going through its own transition as well to remain in line with the new store format. "Our website has been a key tool for customers during the pandemic, being able to offer our customers a continued service whilst the stores were closed
has been fantastic. We are now looking at making some updates that will make the online shopping experience cleaner and crisper and we are excited to see its completion" explains Trish.
As Trish Murray looks back at the Nice 'n' Naughty journey, she says that there is nothing she would change about the past 21 years in the adult industry, "I have been around the world, met suppliers and celebrities, been nominated for and won
many awards and made some life long friends, but I have also come full circle, back to the town I was born and raised in and back on the street where I began my working career. I still love coming to work and that is because Nice 'n' Naughty is a family
and a great place to be."
Looking to the future, she envisions shops where the customers can sit and relax with a barista coffee whilst browsing and discussing the options of the products available with experienced and
knowledgeable staff to offer the best advice and guidance.
With their streamlined business model, fantastic looking Warrington & Chester stores and their up and coming new look Brighton store and website, Nice 'n' Naughty, led
by Trish, boldly step forward with confidence and are looking forward to the challenges ahead of the next 21 years.
Lingerie and sex toys specialist Ann Summers is poised to launch a CVA (Credit Valuation Adjustment) after suffering increased losses in its latest reported year.
Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold set out in stark terms the options facing
the retailer as some landlords refused to work in partnership (lower rents) despite the owning family pumping in more cash.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she wants to explicitly remove any legal ban on supplying poppers, a muscle-relaxing drug used by gay men during sex.
In a letter to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, she acknowledges the law on the
liquid, whose scientific name is alkyl nitrites, is uncertain. Possession is not illegal but supply can sometimes be an offence.
Poppers, used recreationally since the 1970s, give an instant high when inhaled, usually from a bottle, and work as a
muscle relaxant. The government's Frank drugs information website says:
Poppers have a strong solvent smell and are often sold as 'room aromas', 'deodorisers' and 'leather cleaners', but they're not actually used in
this way. They can be found in sex shops, clubs, market stalls and online. Because poppers increases blood flow and can relax the walls of the anus and vagina, some people take it while they're having sex.
During a Commons debate in
2016, Conservative MP Crispin Blunt declared himself a user and asked for poppers to be specifically excluded from the Psychoactive Substances Bill - aimed at stopping the use of legal highs - arguing that banning supply would be fantastically stupid.
MPs rejected his call and the bill passed into law without this exemption.
But the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) advised ministers that poppers would not fall into the scope of the Psychoactive Substances Act because, unlike legal
highs, they did not have a direct effect on the central nervous system.
However, this view was thrown into doubt in 2018 when a Court of Appeal judgement confirmed that substances which have only an indirect psychoactive effect, such as poppers,
could still be covered by the legislation.
Offsite Comment: Have We Banned Poppers by Mistake?
More than £30,000 will be refunded to sex shops in Nottingham after it was revealed that shops were being overcharged for their licenses.
It comes after the council was challenged on the price it charges for sex shops to renew their licences.
Previously, uncontested applications for licence renewals had to be heard by a full committee, and the costs involved were passed on to the applicant.
However, since 2017, decisions have actually been taken by an officer, at a lower cost, but the
applicants were still being charged the costs for the committee.
As a result, Nottingham City Council has decided to refund the additional costs, backdated to 2016 when the challenge was lodged. It means in total £30,876 will be paid back to three
sex shops in the city.
March 1st, 2020 saw the appointment of Nice 'n' Naughty's first CEO in its 21-year history, and that lady was no stranger to the company. Emma Humphreys, who headed the organisation of the company's annual awards night, is well known in the industry
and has always been a major part of the Nice 'n' Naughty family.
Having started with Nice 'n' Naughty 10 years ago this coming August, as a part time accounts assistant, Emma's dedication to the business has seen her grow within
the company to the position she is recognised with today, Chief Executive Officer,
During her journey with Nice 'n' Naughty, she has progressed from her part time roll in Accounts, to head of HR, Health and Safety and has handled
the licensing of the company's stores for the last 8 years and most recently has taken on the company payroll as well as additional accounts duties.
Emma has the 2020 vison that
both myself and Simon Prescott have for the company. There is not a single member of the Nice 'n' Naughty team that doesn't hold Emma in the highest of regards, and having been with Nice 'n' Naughty from the beginning, I was impressed with how Emma
worked with the council on the application of the new Boutique store, all this while still doing the school run every day!
Emma is affectionately known as the Mother of the Team and is held in the highest of esteem by
the whole team, who know they can contact her at any time, and this new role not only reflects her position in the company but is also reflective of the 10 years of loyal commitment to Nice 'n' Naughty and all its team.
UK went in to lockdown with Covid-19, Emma has been a one woman powerhouse for the company, not only ensuring the website runs smoothly, with its orders processed and dispatched daily, but also ensuring support to every single member of the team, from
the director down.
Telephone calls and WhatsApp messages have been at the core of her communication with all the Nice 'n' Naughty family, keeping us all connected with each other through these unprecedented times. All the while,
Emma takes on her additional role as home teacher to her family. As we prepare to re-open the stores, Emma is also sourcing the specific safety and hygienic items needed for our staff and customers to ensure they are safe and secure.
Emma Humphreys, new CEO of Nice 'n' Naughty said:
I am honoured to be offered this position and will continue to support both Directors and all the staff in every way I can. Nice 'n' Naughty is such
a unique company in this industry, as we all work together to create an environment that is both perfect for the customer and the employee. I have always been aware that the people within this company gives it its strength, and I am an example of how the
company invests in the team and see's the potential that each one of us has and strives for us to achieve this. I will take on this new role knowing the future is going to be incredible for all of us.
Simply Pleasure is among the Soho sex shops the council is chasing for £1.4m in licence fees.It's part of a dispute about licensing fees that began nearly 10 years ago.
Following showdowns in the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice, the
council hopes to charge seven sex establishments a total of almost £1.4 million, excluding legal fees.
Supreme Court judges claimed in 2017 that the council was justified in charging more than £29,000 for a licence fee annually to each shop. The
council is also pursuing the owners of the Harmony sex shop chain, with branches in Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road. The other four businesses no longer operate in Soho or have dissolved, but include Winnart Publications, Swish Publications, Janus
bookshop and Darker Enterprises. The shops closures rather prove that the council's demands are unfair.
Tim Hemming of SImply Pleasure told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the licence fees were nearly 10 times higher than what it charges to get
a licence for a nightclub or to open a zoo.
On Valentine's Day, staff from across the Nice 'n' Naughty stores and head office walked in to find Cupid had visited!
Staff from across the national retail chain of fully licensed adult boutique stores and HQ working on Valentine's Day walked in to find a little bit of extra love, courtesy of the Senior Management team behind the award-winning chain.
The staff had already taken it upon themselves to share some love with their customers over the Valentines build up and weekend, by giving gift wrapped
roses to every customer, along with having a box of Thornton's chocolates on the counter for the customers to enjoy while they browsed the stores.
Outside, the stores were bedecked with balloons too, to welcome the customers into the stores, despite the threats of dreaded stormy weather.
The staff working on the day had no idea that they were instore for a visit from Cupid, but they all walked into a little surprise, with chocolates from Hotel Chocolat, bottles of wine, Amazon vouchers and bouquets of flowers for
all the staff, then when lunchtime hit, a surprise delivery of heart shaped pizzas turned up at every location.
"Our staff always go above and beyond to ensure the customer has exceptional service, and a range of beautiful products to show they love their partners; so, we just wanted to show our staff that we love them too! I know some will not be getting
home till later in the day after they finish their shift, and may not have had the valentine's day they wanted, but it's important to us that we show the team some extra love on Valentines" Philip Charter-Price, the National Retail Manager based in
the Brighton store, knows the importance of the team the company has, and was only too happy to shower the love on them.
Members of the team in the head office and website were not left out with Trish Murray, Retail Director, ensuring cupid had visited their head office in Warrington. "We are all such a well-oiled machine, with the stores and head office working
in unison with each other to ensure customers in the boutiques or online get the same level of service and commitment, and it is important that we recognise our biggest asset"
The company are currently opening a new licensed
boutique store in the heart of Warrington town centre, having refurbished their Chester store in a similar way, that will change the way people look at "sex shops" and 2020 promises to be a rocket ship of a year for the company!
Nice n Naughty Chester are all Loved Up! Nice n Naughty, at 127 - 129 Brook Street, have recently installed our new Valentine's window. And this year to celebrate all things romantic, we have commissioned 4 bespoke art pieces
for our backdrop, highlighting that Valentine's is for everyone.
Showing yourself some love should be made part of everyone's life, whether in a relationship or single, and with a range of app-controlled toys that allow you to
control from anywhere in the world, even long-distance relationships are covered! We even have male and female orientated toys that sync together over a distance, so if your partner is in a different city, then what they are doing with their toy will
replicate within yours.
Our recently renovated boutique store has just taken delivery of over 25 boxes of stock, to ensure all are catered for. So, if you are looking for something elegant, sophisticated and luxurious or something
sexy and fun; then look no further!
So if you want fun, frivolity or just some good old fashioned romance, pop in to Nice n Naughty at 127-129 Brook Street Chester and pick up something special for the love of your life this
Use offer code Valentine's Day for 10% discount instore or online at www.nicennaughty.co.uk
. Offer available until the 16/02/20.
Eighteen years ago, when Nice 'n' Naughty first opened on Crown Street in Warrington it was the very first licensed adult store in the Borough. On the 10th February 2020 we will bring adult retail into a modern retail environment when we open the
doors to our new luxurious Boutique store on Sankey Street.
The location of our new store, in a retail shopping area, surrounded by specialised businesses, licensed bars and eateries, is not only keeping with the new boutique
image we are launching, but was selected due to the ever-changing face of UK retail in general.
The Crown Street store that opened in 2002, has become a victim of its own success, with the modern-day customer demanding a more
intimate, sophisticated shopping experience that a store in a railway arch just cannot provide. The new boutique store has given us the opportunity to consult with interior designers to create a shopping experience deserved of this new era in retail.
Nice 'n' Naughty has in conjunction with the designers and Warrington based shop fitters, created a boutique store that will ensure we continue to cater for our core market, which over the last 5 years has seen an increase in females and couples of all
Trish Murray, a Warrington lady herself and a driving force behind the new store shared her thoughts:
"We are proud to be part of the Warrington community and share the vision of
equality and diversity. We have spent 20 years working to change the stigma and preconceived ideas of the 'Adult Retail Store', and have always preferred this label, but in this new era the customer demands a "Boutique", which is more in line
with 2020 and the female and couples' market that we attract. We have worked closely with Warrington Borough Council and their Licensing Department to ensure the requirements of the licence we have been granted are not only met but have been
After trading in the town for 20 years, we have built a very loyal customer base who have been the backbone of the store along with the staff who have a combined experience of over 35 years . Our
customer loyalty was recently reinforced with the positive comments that were received across multiple social media posts during our licence application process for the Sankey Street store, with the company receiving overwhelming support from customers
and local businesses alike, many of whom demonstrated this by writing to the council in support of us.
With the High Street changing dramatically over the past 10 years, businesses need to adapt to survive. Nice 'n' Naughty are no
different than any other retailer out there who are competing with Online shopping trends. Relocating and upgrading to a boutique style store shows our commitment to continue to provide a new and improved shopping experience to our existing customers,
and the ability to attract new customers who may be more aware of our online competition. Bricks and mortar retailers need to ensure that they offer high quality products, knowledgeable staff and a luxurious shopping experience to compete with the online
competition and this can be found in abundance at our new Nice & Naughty Boutique.
Our new store located at Unit 2, 66 Sankey Street, will be open from 9.30am to 6.00pm Monday to Saturday, and 8.00pm on Thursday, in keeping
with many other retail stores in the area and in the Spring will open on a Sunday.
Nice & Naughty obtained the license to ensure it can continue to supply our loyal customers with R18 hardcore DVD's and a vast selection of
To thank our loyal customers, the boutique will be running several special offers across their opening month, and anyone quoting code "Press Release" will receive an added discount.
Nice 'n' Naughty
Enjoy better sex
Naughty has been voted the best adult retailer in the UK and Europe and our objective is simple - to help people enjoy a better sex life. Whatever your sexual orientation, we have something to offer.