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44 percent of UK fashion retailers facing bankruptcy

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez


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A new report unveils that almost half of all UK fashion retailers are facing financial ruin as competition, the fall in sterling and heavy discounting take their toll on the sector.

The last report from Opus Restructuring indicates that 3,991, fashion retailers in the UK – that´s 43.6 percent of all British fashion players - are at risk of failure. The percentage implies quite a deterioration when compared to last year´s figures.

Nick Hood, business risk adviser at Opus quoted by the ´Belfast Telegraph´, said: "The UK fashion retail sector is under exceptional strain, with plenty of anecdotal evidence of sustained periods of discounting as consumers demand ever-lower prices and as the fall in sterling impacts their costs and profit margins. "

"The failure of BHS and Austin Reed earlier this year shows what fate awaits clothing retailers who fail to invest and stay relevant to a constantly changing market," further recalled Hood.

Using data supplied by corporate health specialists Company Watch, Opus discovered that the at-risk fashion retailers were in its "warning area" with a rating of 25 or less out of a 100. Firms that fall within Company Watch's warning area could face either formal insolvency or a major financial restructuring during the next three years.

Opus´ research serves as a warning to major chains as they struggle to maintain profitability: total profits among big high street fashion names dropped 28 percent last year to 1.87 billion pounds.

Austin Reed