Store First and Park First accounts filed: £42m net loss, £31m net liabilities, £62m provision made for repaying Park First investors

The Group First group of companies, comprising the unregulated store pod investment scheme Store First and the unregulated car park space investment scheme Park First, has just filed the group’s accounts for the period ending June 2017.

Some selected highlights of the accounts follow. Anyone seeking a full picture of the companies’ accounts should consult the originals on Companies House, where they can be downloaded for free.

Group First Global Ltd, the holding company (note: the following are the results for the group, rather than the individual Group First Global Ltd company)

  • Total turnover was £163m. Cost of sales was £185m, meaning that the group was making a gross loss of £22m before we even get to overheads. After overheads (administrative expenses), the group made a loss of £44m, with the final loss after tax and interest being £42m.
  • toby whittaker
    Toby Whittaker, Managing Director and 100% owner of Group First Global Ltd

    Despite Group First’s heavy losses, ordinary dividends of £250,000 were paid. These would have been paid to Group First Global Limited’s sole shareholder, which is Toby Whittaker. Note that there is nothing illegal about this because Group First Global as a company had retained earnings from previous years, even though the group as a whole had negative earnings.

  • In 2017, Park First was ordered by the FCA to stop promoting a collective investment scheme without authorisation, and instead allowed to restructure its investment offering as a “lifetime leaseback” scheme. Investors have two options: either continue in the lifetime leaseback scheme, which means that instead of receiving a “guaranteed” 8% per annum return as originally promised, they receive 2%pa plus variable dividends depending on profitability. (Park First was, and remains, heavily loss-making – see below.) Or receive their money back, minus any returns already paid to them, after at least a year.
  • Group First Global has made a provision of £62 million in its accounts for making repayments to investors under both these options.
  • After allowing for this provision, Group First is £31 million in the red (net liabilities). They would have had net assets of £29 million had this provision not been needed.
  • The Government has lodged a petition to wind up the Store First companies. Group First intends to defend this petition, and has put in place a provision of £2 million to cover the cost of doing so.
  • Group First’s previous auditors, Pierce C.A. Limited, resigned in September 2017. The latest accounts are audited by the new auditors, Lopian Gross Barnett & Co.

Park First Limited

  • Total turnover in the period was £18m. Cost of sales was £41m, meaning that the company was making a loss before we even get to overheads. The final loss after overheads, interest and tax was £30 million.
  • Net liabilities were £30.2 million.
  • With Park First failing to even cover the gross cost of its services, even before overheads are taken into account, it is clear that a significant turnaround will be needed before there is a prospect of dividends for investors who opt for the lifetime leaseback option.

Store First Limited

  • Store First Limited made a gross profit of £1.1 million on turnover of £4.0 million. After overheads, however, it made a £7.1 million net loss.
  • Net liabilities were £14 million, consisting of £466k debtors (mostly trade debtors and amounts owed by other Group First companies), minus £12.2m creditors (mostly amounts owed to other Group First companies) and a £2m provision for liabilities.
  • In regard to the winding up petition, the directors state “On the 1 August 2017 a hearing was scheduled in High Court by the Insolvency Service calling for a petition to wind up Store First Limited. The result of this hearing led to an adjournment. Subsequently it remains uncertain whether Store First will remain trading or enter into insolvency proceedings. The outcome of this is likely to be reached after a period of 12 months and while this casts significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern in the long term future, it does not cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue trading for the forseeable future.”

Group First has a number of other subsidiaries, which I will summarise very quickly below as they were exempt from filing full accounts under the small companies regime, so little meaningful information is available. “No P&L” indicates the company did not file a profit and loss statement.

  • The following subsidiaries were all listed as dormant: Residential First Ltd, Select Escapes Ltd, B1 Workspace Ltd, Group First International Sbn Bhd (registered in Malaysia), Store First Singapore Branch and Park First Singapore Branch (both registered in Singapore).
  • Simonstone Parking Limited – no P&L, net assets £53k
  • Park First Skyport Limited – no P&L, net assets minus £21.5 million
  • Store First St Helens Ltd – no P&L, net assets £450k
  • Equestrian First Ltd – no P&L, net assets £6.7 million
  • Ground Rental Ltd – no P&L, net assets minus £27k
  • SFM Services Ltd (formerly Store First Management Limited) – £19k profit, £765 net assets
  • Business First Ltd – no P&L, net assets minus £1.4 million
  • Park First Management Ltd – no P&L, net assets £9k
  • Help Me Park Gatwick Ltd – no P&L, net assets minus £16 million
  • Cophall Parking Gatwick Ltd – no P&L, net assets minus £16 million
  • Ltd – no P&L, net assets £506k
  • London Luton Airport Parking Ltd – no P&L, net assets £11 million


Park First investors who opt for the new “leaseback” scheme paying 2% and variable dividends will clearly have to hope for a remarkable turnaround in Park First Limited’s profitability, given that as at the date of its last accounts it doesn’t even cover the cost price of offering its car park spaces, according to its accounts.

As for those who opt to receive their initial investment back, they face a long wait (at least a year, plus however long it takes for Park First to transfer the title to their parking space) while they hope that Park First has enough money to pay them back, despite the significant net liabilities reported by Park First and its associated companies.


10 thoughts on “Store First and Park First accounts filed: £42m net loss, £31m net liabilities, £62m provision made for repaying Park First investors

  1. Do you still stick to the above? Is there any knowledge of how thing have gone on in the last five months? How many life time lease back plans has park first been able to convert to?


  2. All of the above info was taken from Group First’s own accounts or those of its subsidiaries, so still stands. The next set of accounts will be due in March 2019.

    The last public news was in May 2018 when the government sent questionnaires to Store First investors in preparation for the winding up court hearing which is still due to be heard. No date set for that to my knowledge.

    No idea on the Park First leaseback arrangements.


  3. I am a park first investor who opted for early redemption but on further investigation it was discovered the original sale to myself never actually completed and so we are to get a refund. I’ve been told this is simpler – no need for a solicitor on my side for example – but I still must wait the calendar year. By the date of my confirmation email this is the 11th of December but Park First are saying it’s the 22nd.

    Apart from everything you’ve rightly pointed out above, I’m suspicious of a strange date – the Saturday just before the holiday period for the deadline and the conspiracy theorist in me suspects the date may well come and go and the office shut down over the holidays with nobody contactable. I wonder how many people have been given the 22nd December as a deadline for payment, open question to anyone who might happen to read this?


  4. This sounds very suspicious. Who told you you dont need a solicitor? Was that someone from First. Everyone who has invested in Store or Park and Residential have all been sold a song….a full investigation of this company is long overdue.


  5. Lucky Shot, They have your money and the chances of getting it back is non-existent. These people are S%^4%£, and writing to them is useless.


  6. Park First are most reluctant to honour the buy back they offered me for my Glasgow parking space.
    I get the feeling it will be a cold day in hell before they settle even though they have been instructed to.
    Toby Whittaker paying himself £250k for running a fraudulent scheme and no one blinks an eye.
    My MP doesn’t care and neither does any one else it seems.


  7. Hi , has anybody invested their sipp through a company called – The Positive retirement potential plan.
    have you gone through the same upheaval as myself e.g no feedback n/ zero response from the sole
    director of the company , who seems to have disappeared of the radar.. I am seeking advice , but its a long drawn out process to try and get my money back , as the above company were not regulated .


  8. Complain to the SIPP provider that they failed in their duty to do due diligence. Then take it to the FOS if necessary. As there’s no regulated adviser, this is the same position as with Carey / Berkeley Burke SIPPs.


  9. luckysh0t (here’s hoping you ticked the notify button…) Did you ever receive any money? I am acting as executor for the estate of a relative who ‘invested’ with Park First. Like you the purchases never completed, so this was meant to be a ‘simple’ refund (minus historic payments and various other trimmings). Again I was told I had to wait, in my case until 15 Jan 2019 initially, later altered by Park First to the 25th January. Obviously no refund has been forthcoming.


  10. Hi , Has anybody who optied for the buy back or lifetime leaseback option with Park / group first , on car park space investment received any of there money back , does anybody know what the current state of play is , so to speak.


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