Zolfo Cooper, the administrator of troubled women´s retailer Jane Norman, has sold a third of the chain´s stores to Edinburgh-based Woollen Mill. The deal with the privately owned knitwear retailer was sealed for an undisclosed sum.
On appointment, the administrators immediately effected a sale of 33 stores to the retailer group, The Edinburgh Woollen Mill under a pre-packaged administration sale. The sale also included stock in all 94 of the standalone stores in Debenhams, UK concessions as well as a number of overseas concessions. “The company’s concessions in Debenhams will continue to be traded for the moment with a view to securing the sales of these as well”, explained the administrators in a communication.
e administrators have also arranged a so-called transitional services agreement between themselves and the purchaser for another 28 stores and a number of concessions which may allow all parties time to consider their future. In other words, Woollen Mill has taken on 33 of Jane Norman’s UK stores, and has a further 28 stores under consideration under a so-called transitional services agreement. The remaining 33 stores will close immediately, causing the redundancy of over 1,200 employees across the UK. However, 396 shop staff will keep their jobs.
Alastair Beveridge, Zolfo Cooper partner, said: “It has been an exacting time for the company, which has a substantial amount of debt. “Unfortunately, the sale has resulted in job losses, which we appreciate is difficult news for those involved.”
The retailer had been trying to refinance £140m of borrowings from a consortium of 12 separate lenders, but when this failed to raise the required funds, it put itself up for sale in May. Stewart Binnie, Jane Norman’s chairman, blamed “poor trading over the autumn-winter period, inadequate finances and a market that does not allow for weakness” for the company’s
Alastair Beveridge, Simon Appell and Anne O’Keefe, partners at Corporate Advisory and Restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper, were appointed Joint Administrators of Jane Norman (Holdings) Limited and Jane Norman Limited (the Company) on 27 June 2011. Just the day after, they managed to close the deal with the Scottish knitwear company.
A prominent women’s fashion retailer, Jane Norman operates 94 stores across the UK and Ireland, together with 95 third-party concession arrangements and single stores in Denmark and Holland. Headquartered in London, the company employs approximately 1,600 with almost all based in the UK.