Courtaulds West Mill hosiery plant was the first UK site to gain M&S eco-factory status

Courtaulds' West Mill hosiery plant was the first UK site to gain M&S eco-factory status

The fall-out from the demise of UK apparel and homewares retailer BHS is starting to be felt as two of its suppliers have gone into administration, including the owner of the Pretty Polly, Gossard and Aristoc brands.

Dilip Dattani and Patrick Ellward of RSM Restructuring Advisory have today (26 May) been appointed joint administrators of CUK Clothing Limited and Courtaulds Brands Limited. The companies, which merged in 2006, manufacture and supply branded and private label hosiery, socks, bras, underwear to retailers in the UK and internationally.

Courtaulds is one of the world's leading producers of hosiery products, and its West Mill hosiery plant in Belper, Derbyshire was Marks & Spencer's first UK supplier site to gain eco-factory status in 2011.

Indeed BHS was another major customer to both companies and the administration of the UK stalwart has been the main reason for the demise of both CUK and Courtaulds Brands, RSM Restructuring said, in addition to a declining volume of sales and profits. 

The two companies manufacture hosiery, socks, bras, underwear, nightwear, formal and casual wear, jackets and coats. The firms employ around 380 staff in Derbyshire and London.

"The administration of BHS has added to the challenge of operating within a fiercely competitive market for seasonal products," said Dilip Dattani, RSM partner and one of the joint administrators. "This has left the directors with little choice but to place the companies into administration.

"Regrettably, we have been forced to make 350 employees redundant to align with the current order book, and we are assisting them with their claims to the Redundancy Payments Service. We are currently engaging with the key customers to assess their ongoing orders and delivery schedules."

BHS went into administration earlier this month, and is understood to have garnered a mix of offers; some for the majority of the business, but mostly for parts. Administrators are still in talks with prospective buyers, two weeks after the deadline for expressions of interest.

According to Verdict data, BHS has consistently lost market share to its competitors in all its key sectors, and its "weak multichannel offer, dated brand and under-invested store environment" mean that any buyer would have to think seriously about retaining the BHS name".

BHS receives "five bids" for majority of business

UK retailers Marks & Spencer and Debenhams stand to gain the most from the break up of the retailer, analysts have said, given they have the most similar customer profile to BHS and hence is more likely to be a first choice for shoppers. 

M&S and Debenhams will gain most from BHS break-up