Hotter Shoes, the footwear brand once operated by the struggling Unbound Group, has been swiftly rescued by WoolOvers Group in a pre-pack deal for 6.7 million pounds.
The sale comes after Unbound Group appointed administrators on July 17, after halting a wider formal sales process for the company and instead opting to sell its subsidiary, Beaconsfield Footwear Limited (OpCo).
WoolOvers entity Buckminster Hamilton Limited has ultimately stepped in to acquire the brand, helping Unbound to dispose of OpCo’s assets and divest its main trading business.
Interpath Advisory, OpCo’s appointed administrator, said that the company had been “adversely affected by difficult trading conditions in the retail environment”, while the pressure from creditors had also continued to increase.
WoolOvers acquisition to save 421 jobs
As a result of the sale, the firm said that all 421 employees and the brand’s 27 stores and concessions have been transferred to WoolOver.
Speaking on the acquisition, Will Wright, head of restructuring at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, commented in a release: “High cost inflation and fragile consumer confidence is starting to place mounting pressure on companies up and down the high street.”
Meanwhile, Unbound, whose shares remain suspended from trading on AIM, said that the transaction is not expected to result in any value attributable to its existing shareholders.
The company further noted that it had minimal cash balances and known creditors of around 0.9 million pounds.
The board added that any value from its current investments is likely only to be realised at a later date, and therefore there is “uncertainty as to whether the company is able to pay its debts as they fall due”.
Unbound did report on OpCo’s most recent audited accounts for the 52 weeks ended January 30, 2022, when the business saw a pre-tax loss of 1.3 million pounds, while its gross assets sat at 40.8 million pounds.
Its net bank indebtedness as of July 14, 2023, was 9.7 million pounds.