- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Austin Reed Group has entered into administration a week after it was acquired by retail specialist Alteri Investors, putting close to 1,200 jobs at risk.
The 116 year old clothing retailer has become second retailer to call in the administrators this week, following in the footsteps of department store group BHS on Monday. Austin Reed has appointed AlixPartners as administrators, a global advisory company which previously has been tapped to help turn the retailer around. The clothing retailer confirmed its intention to file for insolvency on Friday, less than a week after its was taken over.
Austin Reed collapses into administration
Peter Saville, Kevin Coates and Catherine Williamson from AlixPartners Services has been appointed joint administrators. "Our priority now is to work with all stakeholders and determine the optimum route forward for the business as we continue to serve customers throughout the UK and Ireland," said Saville in a statement.
"Austin Reed is a well-regarded and iconic brand and therefore we are confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers, as such we expect, and welcome, contact from interested third parties." Austin Reed is said to have been struggling on the high street over the past few years, closing 31 loss-making stores in 2015 thorugh a company voluntary agreement. At the moment the clothing retailer counts 155 stores, which are expected to continue trading during the administration.
Best known for its famous suits, which were worn by the likes of Winston Churchill, The Beatles and Christine Lagarde, the group also owns womenswear branches under its Viyella and CC labels, which are to remain open. The chain previously moved out of its London flagship store at 113 Regent Street in 2011, in exchange for a smaller unit across the road. However the location proved to be too costly, as the group is currently trying to sell the store through AlixPartners for several weeks.
Austin Reed has been battling against declining revenues as well, in spite of its best efforts to reinvent its image online. Turnover has dropped every year for the retailer since 2011, with revenues dropping from 109.1 million pounds to 100.5 million pounds as the retailer failed to keep consumer interest from wandering to competitors such as Moss Bros and TM Lewin.
However, a number of potential buyers who may be interested in acquiring the clothing retailer have already been highlighted, including Better Capital. Parent company of fashion brand Jaeger, a source revealed to City A.M that the private equity firm has the financial backing to make a serious investment in the retailer and "the fit with Jaeger is real", but added that talks had yet to reach a serious stage.
Photos: Austin Reed, Facebook