- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - 2017 was not an easy year for most businesses - especially not for UK retailers. Economical and political uncertainty following the Brexit vote put even more pressure on consumer spending habits and retailers who were unable to execute a winning strategy found themselves in hot water. 42 major retailers went bust over the course of 2017, 12 more than in 2016 according to data from the Centre of Retail Research. This affected 1,364 retail stores and 15,800 employees, highlighting the current state of retail in the UK. Major fashion retailers that fell into administration this year include high street staple Jaeger, fashion brand Joy, footwear retailer Jones Bootmaker and luxury lingerie brand Agent Provocateur - although this does not mean these retailers disappeared from the high street for good. Some have managed to make a recovery and were pulled out of administration and continue to trade - others were not so lucky.
FashionUnited lists the main fashion retailers which struggled to remain afloat in 2017. Scroll down to see which ones managed to survive and which ones ended up going bust.
March: Agent Provocateur, Brantano and Jones Bootmaker
The month of March provided to be a difficult month for fashion retailers, as Agent Provocateur, Brantano and Jones Bootmaker all teetered on the ending of falling into administration. However two of these retailers were saved from administration at the last minute after being sold via a pre-pack deal - one was not so lucky and remains in administration to this date.
The industry was caught by surprised when luxury lingerie label Agent Provocateur, previously held by private equity firm 3i Group, was sold to Four Holdings, the investment vehicle held by billionaire Mike Ashley in a pre-pack administration deal in early in March. AlixPartners, the firm which has been appointed to oversee the turnaround plan ahead of the sale, confirmed the sale, which was estimated to be 27.5 million pounds. The rapid sale led to concerns for the future of the 600 employees working at Agent Provocateur, as one month later the British luxury label filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections and announced it was set to shutter all of its stores in Australia.
Since then however, the brand seems to be back on track as its collection in prominently featured in the Love Advent calendar which stars a number of popular models, artists and influencer including Rita Ora, Doutzen Kroes, Winnie Harlow, Ashley Graham, Gigi Hadid and her sister Bella Hadid.
Photo credit: Agent Provocateur SS17 Collection, Courtesy of
Brantano Retail Limited
Over one thousand jobs were at risk when footwear company Brantano Retail Limited entered into administration for the second time towards the end of March. Tony Barrell and Mike Jervis from PricewaterhouseCooper were officially appointed as joint administrators of Brantano, following previous reports that Brantano was up for sale. At the point of entering administration Brantano was operating 3 stores and 64 concessions across the UK, employing a total of 1,086 members of staff. At first the footwear retailer continued to trade as normal, as there were high hopes that a buyer for the business would be found. However, the end result seemed unavoidable, as all branches ceased trading in June and 901 employees were ultimately made redundant. The administrators are currently in the process of settling landlord, employee and creditor claims.
Photo By: Mtaylor848 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], via Wikimedia CommonsJones Bootmaker
Jones Bootmaker was saved from collapsing into administration after being sold through a pre-pack administration deal to Endless. The private equity firm came through on the 11th hour and agreed to take over the struggling footwear retailer for 10.5 million pounds from former owner Alteri Investments. At the time Endless took over 72 stores, while the remaining 25 underperforming stores, in addition to six concessions stands, were not included in the deal and subsequently shut down. A few months later, newly appointed CEO Koray Gul decided to close down 9 additional stores, following an internal review while an additional 10 underperforming stores were in danger being shut down as well.
Read more on Brantano and Jones Bootmaker:
Fashion retailer Jaeger collapsed into administration in early April, placing 700 jobs at risk. The fashion chain, which was once a British high street staple, struggled to attract a suitable buyer for its business. Private equity firm Better Capital sought 30 million pounds for the retailer after declining sales. Administrators Alix Partners shut 20 of Jaeger’s 46 stores after the chain was sold to a ‘mystery buyer’a few weeks later. In the end Philip Day, owner of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, confirmed he had acquired the Jaeger brand and its debt, but not the main company, in a move which sparked controversial across the industry. The brand relaunched for autumn 17, with a renewed focus on its heritage, strengthening its digital presence with the aim to open more standalone stores.
Photo credit: Jaeger, Facebook
May: Joy and Topshop/Topman Australia
Lifestyle retailer Joy (also known as Joy the Store) fell into administration in May after its parent company Louche London Limited was place into administration. However, the fashion retailer was rescued by its owners, who took over the chain via a pre-pack deal. Gareth Roberts and Paul Ellison from KRE Corporate Recovery were appointed as joint administrators of the fashion and lifestyle company and oversaw the sale of the business, which sold back immediately to its owners Louche London Limited and the Joy Group of Companies. 21 stores and 230 jobs were saved, but 11 stores were closed, resulting in the loss of 78 jobs.
The Australian franchise of Topshop/Topman was placed into voluntary administration in May following increasing debt. 760 jobs, as well as a number of retail locations, were at risk as financial restructuring firm Ferrier Hodgson was brought on board as administrator. The franchise, owned by Austradia, continued to trade as normal for a few months, as negotiations with Topshop’s parent company in the Uk Arcadia Group began. However, the company closed five of its nine stand alone Topshop/Topman stores in Australia in July, as it struggled to fine a viable alternative for its financial difficulties. Following a bleak summer, Arcadia announced it had taken over the Australian arm of Topshop/Topman and would be relaunching in four locations.
Photo: By Mtaylor848 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
June: Style Group Brands
Style Group Brands, which previously held the brands Jacques Vert, Precis, Windsmoor, Eastex and Dash was bought out of administration via a pre-pack deal by a consortium which included Calverton Style Holdings, backed by former owner of Jaeger Harold Tillman andAsian entrepreneurs Sundeep Vyas, Haseeb Aziz and Arvind Vij. The joint administrators, KPMG’s Will Wright and Rob Croxen, oversaw the agreement, which included only 5 of Style Group Brands’ 22 store count, but saved its 318 concession store count, saving a total of 1,719 jobs. 1,272 of those employees were based in the UK, however following the closure of 17 stores across the nation, 272 jobs were lost.
Photo: courtesy of Style Group Brands
July: Store Twenty One
Multiple efforts were made to try and save the financially insecure retailer Store Twenty One throughout 2017, but the company was forced to entered into compulsory liquidation in the middle of July. The budget fashion chain’s remaining 122 stores were by the end of the week, resulting in the loss of 900 retail jobs. Store Twenty One’s compulsory liquidation came as no big surprise, as the company has come close to falling into administration over the past few years. An attempted restructure last year which saw a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) placed, resulted in the closure of 93 loss-making stores.
August: Rare London
Fashion label Rare London, favoured by reality TV celebrities including The Only Way is Essex star Sam Faiers, annouced via Facebook that it had ceased trading in early August. All of its 56 members of staff were made redundant after administrators from Duff and Phelps were appointed during the last week of July. Customers who had recently placed an order or were awaiting a refund were urged to contact their bank or credit card company or Paypal directly to see if they could get their money back through them.
September: Basler UK and Greenwoods
The UK branch of women’s wear fashion label Basler appointed administrators at the end of August after its parent company in Germany fell into administration when it failed to secure a buyer. Formal liquidation proceedings for its parent company have now begin, after Basler UK continued to trade as normal for the past few months in order to fulfil wholesale orders. The label previously carried out a stock liquidation through its retail outlet. Basler UK owns three stores, a factory outlet and 17 concessions in the UK, with close to 100 employees.
Photo: Basler, Facebook
Menswear and formal hire label Greenwoods entered into administration this September, raising concerns for the future of the business and its 318 members of staff. Over the years the 150 year retailer has undergone a series of changes and downsizing. The menswear specialist, which operated 63 stores and two concessions at the time of administrator was later purchased by Versatile International Trading, who decided to shut 22 stores, leading to 88 redundancies.
Photo: By Mtaylor848 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Footwear retailer Shoon entered into administration for the second time in November after attempts to find a suitable buyer failed, leading to the loss of approximately 45 jobs. Shoon appointed Neil Bennett and Alex Cadwallader from Leonard Curtis as joint administrators who managed to secure a deal to sell four of its nine stores. The remaining five stores in Winchester, St Albans, Leamington Spa, Somerset, and Guildford, as well as its concession stand in Daniel department store in Windsor were shut. 26 employees at the four Shoon retail locations sold to The Shoot Shoe Company retained their roles.
Photo: Shoon, website
Homepage photo: via Pixabay