Wednesday, June 1, 2016

News: Austin Reed Rotherham concession bought

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The Rotherham concession of menswear chain Austin Reed is one of the few operations to stay open after the buyer decided not take the bulk of the brands' stores as part of a deal to buy the company out of administration.

Alix Partners was appointed as administrator to the Austin Reed Group on April 26, a year after the retailer entered into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) and closed more than 30 underperforming stores.

Founded in 1900, the upmarket chain had around 70 stores with a large flagship store located on Regent Street, London. The group also owned the Viyella and Country Casuals chains of fashion stores.

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The administrators have not been able to secure a viable solution to keep the business as a whole and it is set to cease trading.

AlixPartners sold five Austin Reed concession stores operating within Boundary Mills shopping outlets to retail chain Edinburgh Woollen Mill, saving 28 jobs.

This includes the concession in the Boundary Mill outlet which took over the former Big W store at Catcliffe in 2012. The 130,000 sq ft store had been empty since Woolworths went into administration in 2008.

High Street stores, including the one at Meadowhall in Sheffield, are set to close by the end of June.

Peter Saville of administrator AlixPartners said: "We have explored all options to sell the business since our appointment and continued to trade the business with the support of the secured creditors in what is clearly an extremely challenging retail environment. Despite a significant number of interested parties coming forward it became clear as the process progressed that a viable solution which kept the business whole was not forthcoming. We have made the difficult decision to cease trading."

Edinburgh Woollen Mill also bought the Austin Reed and Country Casuals brand. The group operates retail and destination outlets and acquired 77 stores from struggling Rotherham-based retailer, Rosebys in 2008.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill website
Boundary Mill website
Images: Boundary Mill

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