- Vivian Hendriksz |
Lingerie firm Ultimo, founded by Baroness Michelle Mone, is set to wind up its business in the UK after 22 years. The company will continue trading from its online website until April 15, while its concession stands across the country have already been closed. However, Ultimo will maintain its presence in South Asia, manufacturing and selling its products in the region.
The decision to close down its UK operations comes after an extensive review of the company’s in-store and online performance over the last three years. The lingerie brand has faced a number of challenges over the last few years, “driven by increasing competition in the market and more cautious consumer spending,” said the company in a statement.
Ultimo to wind up UK operations
“The last few years have been extremely challenging for Ultimo, driven by increasing competition in the market and more cautious consumer spending due to the uncertainty surrounding the UK economy over the last 18 months,” said a spokesperson for Ultimo.
“Having reviewed the business’ performance over the last three years as well as future prospects and considering the retail environment within which the business is operating; the board has, with regret, decided to cease operations of the Ultimo business in the UK.”
Employees at Ultimo headquarter in East Kilbride, Scotland, have been informed and formal redundancy consultation is currently underway for the 11 members of staff. Ultimo’s other retail partners, suppliers and key stakeholders have also been informed and the company’s UK operations will be wound up by the end of June.
Ultimo has pledged it will honour financial commitments with suppliers and partners and its products will be sold via third-party retailers such as Asos, Debenhams and Next while stocks last. The lingerie company previously reported a pre-tax loss of 3.9 million pounds for the year to December 31, 2016, and warned that further losses lay ahead.
The lingerie company was founded by Mone and her husband n 1996, achieving international success after Julia Roberts is said to have worn an Ultimo bra in the movie ‘Erin Brockovich.’ Sri-Lankan based firm MAS Holdings acquires a majority shareholding in Ultimo’s parent company, Ultimo Brands International Ltd in 2014 and Mone resigned from her role in the business as a director and sold her interest in Ultimo in 2015.
MAS Holdings is one of the largest textile and apparel manufacturers in South Asia, with annual revenues of 1.7 billion pounds. It currently operates 50 facilities across 16 countries, employing more than 88.000 people.