UK: Ethel Austin seeks buyer as closures start
Jobs to be axed at the UK fashion firm
Administrators handling the sale of UK value clothing retailer Ethel Austin and its sister chain Au Naturale home furnishings, are to shut 129 stores with the immediate loss of 469 jobs.
Specifically, 404 posts will go at the Ethel Austin's distribution centre and 65 at head office out of a total of 3,714 employees, while joint administrators Geoff Bouchier, Philip Duffy and David Whitehouse of MCR look for a potential buyer.
"Due to a lack of investment the store could no longer purchase stock, so we are negotiating with people at the moment," an MCR spokesman told just-style, although he declined to reveal who this might be.
"When discussions are ongoing, we are pretty sensitive to that, we don't want to stop any potential sale going through. If a buyer comes forward, then great."
Both company divisions have announced closing down sales starting today (11 February) at the 129 stores that have been identified as loss-making.
This is the second time in two years that Ethel Austin has filed for administration with MCR, following its previous difficulties in 2008, when it was sold to the former chief executive of value fashion chain Mk One in a move that secured around 2,500 jobs.
"The joint administrators have also been in regular dialogue with both the trade unions and local government authorities during this time to discuss the immediate prospects of the companies and that of their employees," said MCR partner Geoff Bouchier.
All unpaid wages owing at the date of the administration will be supplied in full via the administration on the normal payment dates.
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