Women’s club sinks even deeper into the red

Britain’s first private club for women is seeking new funding after turnover halved during the pandemic and plunged it further into the red.

The Allbright Group, a club for women in business started by entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow and chaired by veteran retailer Allan Leighton, said a fundraiser is expected to end in March.

Its existing lender, Cain International, provided a bridge loan of £ 675,000 “to allow time for new investments”. Allbright’s debt to Cain, a US real estate fund, exceeds £ 5million.

Allbright, which aims to promote gender diversity and help close the gender pay gap, said talks with other investors were at “advanced stages” after its earnings fell 50% to £ 1.9million in the year to March. Losses have fallen from £ 10million to £ 14million.

The company was forced to shut down its Los Angeles club for good following a rent dispute with the landlord.

Ms Wosskow co-founded the Allbright Group with Anna Jones, the former UK Managing Director of Hearst Magazines. The company opened its first club in March 2018 to provide a networking space for women. Men are allowed to visit as guests but not to become members.

The Allbright Group said in its accounts it had been “significantly affected” by the pandemic. He used the leave scheme to pay staff and renegotiated the terms of the leases with the landlords. His London club reopened in Mayfair in April 2021.

The company said it believes its future remains “very bright” after expanding its online services during the pandemic, including with the takeover of The Grace Tales, an Australian women’s lifestyle website.

Allbright said: “The platform creates more opportunities for women working remotely, while providing more opportunities to grow the global audience without any capacity limits.”

The strategy echoes the digital expansion being pursued by Soho House, the members’ media club that floated in New York City last year as The Membership Collective. Its stocks have struggled for growth since their inception.

Ms. Wosskow started her first business – Mantra PR – at the age of 25. She then launched the Love Home Swap home-sharing website in 2011, which she sold for $ 40 million to Wyndham Capital in 2017. She received an OBE. for UK business services in 2016.