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Pretty Legs


Supporting British businesses

As a specialist lender, Paragon works with many small and medium-sized businesses across the UK. In a recent case, the Invoice Finance team supported a historic British business following a sustained period of difficult trading.

Hosiery company Pretty Legs has been trading for 60 years but it came close to never reaching this milestone when a major customer made a sudden and unexpected move to take its manufacturing overseas. This led to a crisis for the Leicestershire-based firm – and that’s when it turned to Paragon for support.

An experienced Invoice Finance team took a close look at Pretty Legs’ business and what it found was a sound company with plenty of potential and future growth plans.

There was a clear way of saving this long-standing British business with specialist advice to get it through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), flexible cashflow support and dedicated help in steering Pretty Legs through repayment plans and necessary redundancies.

When you have a specialist lender like Paragon that is prepared to support your business, it makes a huge difference...

Set up in 1959 in Lutterworth, Pretty Legs not only produced its own brand of tights for suppliers including Peacocks and Co-op food stores but had also diversified into hospital stockings for the NHS and flight socks.

While it was once at the heart of Britain's bustling hosiery industry, Pretty Legs was now the last one standing and the only hosiery company left in the country. It faced a shrinking market for hosiery due to fashion changing over generations. While in 1999, the average adult woman in the Western world bought around 29 tights a year, that figure was down to around 12 pairs a year in 2014.

Richard Tudor, Operations Management Director at Pretty Legs, said: “Paragon supported us with finance and its expertise through the CVA and helped this company to keep going and to keep manufacturing in the UK, so we feel very grateful for that.

“The amount of legal and accountancy fees in a CVA are quite scary but with Paragon, I knew we could come out the other side.
“When you have a specialist lender like Paragon that is prepared to support your business, it makes a huge difference. Now we have come out the other side, we have big plans for the future. It feels good to be banging the drum for UK manufacturing from where we have come from.”

How Paragon helped

Specialist advice and flexible cashflow support means Pretty Legs is now looking at a turnover of up to £3.5 million next year with plans to develop new sports and medical socks, and increase exports to countries like America, Pakistan, Qatar and the UAE.

Adrian Taylor, Head of Invoice Finance at Paragon said: “This wasn’t a trading mistake that led to Pretty Legs’ problems but something that the business couldn’t have foreseen.
“Our support package was to see the company through a voluntary arrangement, preserve many jobs and help the business to re-establish itself in the marketplace.
“As a specialist lender, we are all about supporting British businesses and SMEs, so we feel proud to have helped a long-standing British company continue its story.”

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551