Luxury UK fashion brand Aquascutum today (17 April) called in the administrators after owners Harold Tillman and Belinda Earl failed to stem losses at the business.

Restructuring firm FRP Advisory said that while significant efforts had been made to turn the business around, "significant losses continued to be incurred".

"We are conscious of the value of the Aquascutum brand and its long-standing heritage and because of this are keen to enter in to early discussions with interested parties open to purchasing the business as soon as possible," said joint administrator Geoff Rowley.
"We will of course be conducting an urgent assessment of all stores and concessions and look to communicate to staff and suppliers at the very earliest opportunity."

Aquascutum has three high street stores and a further 16 concessions in the UK, with seven outlet stores and 11 international concessions. It runs its manufacturing base from a factory in Corby, Northamptonshire, and has some 250 employees in the UK.

Tillman and Earl acquired Aquascutum in September 2009 from Japan's Renown Incorporated. As part of the deal, YGM Trading, Aquascutum's licensee in Hong Kong and China, acquired the rights for the company's business in Asia.

The business made losses of around GBP24m in 2008, and during the next three years, Aquascutum's shareholders invested around GBP30m in its turnaround.

"Likewise, the senior management team have worked tirelessly to develop and build the Aquascutum brand and offer," the board said.

"The challenging conditions in the UK, however, has unfortunately meant that the team have been unable to successfully turn the business around which has ultimately resulted in its administration. The Board hopes that under FRP Advisory, the business will be disposed of successfully," it added.

Aquascutum was founded in 1851, and the company was best known for producing the first waterproof wool and its trench coats.

Tillman sold a 90% stake in his Jaeger brand yesterday to Better Capital. The private-equity firm said that of the GBP19.5m it spent on the stake, the brand's secured debt made up the substantial majority of the investment.

Tillman is also chairman of the British Fashion Council.