Women-only members’ club sinks further into the red

Britain’s first private members’ 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 aimed at businesswomen launched by entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow and chaired by the retail veteran Allan Leighton, said a fundraising round is expected to be completed in March. 

Its existing lender Cain International has provided a £675,000 bridging loan “in order to allow time for new investment”. Allbright’s debt to Cain, a US real estate fund, exceeds £5m.

Allbright, which aims to promote gender diversity and help close the gender pay gap, said talks with other investors were at an “advanced stage” after its revenues slumped by 50pc to £1.9m in the year to March. Losses widened from £10m to £14m.

The company was forced to permanently close its Los Angeles club following a rent dispute with the landlord.

Ms Wosskow co-founded the Allbright Group with Anna Jones, the former UK chief executive of Hearst Magazines. The business 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 that it had been “significantly impacted” by the pandemic. It used the furlough scheme to pay staff and has been renegotiating lease terms with landlords. Its London club re-opened in Mayfair in April in 2021.

The company said it believes its future remains “very promising” after it expanded 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 remotely working women, as well as providing more opportunities to increase the global audience without any capacity limits.”

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

Ms Wosskow started her first business – Mantra PR – at the age of 25. She went on to launch home-sharing website Love Home Swap in 2011, which she sold for a reported $40m to Wyndham Capital in 2017. She was awarded an OBE for services to British business in 2016.

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