Updated: 26th April 2016
The tailoring brand and retail group Austin Reed has been entered into administration and cast doubt over the employment of around 1,200 people.
Having been founded over a hundred years ago, the company once counted wartime prime minister Winston Churchill among its many customers but has been beset by serious financial difficulties in recent quarters.
Administrators were appointed to manage the company’s affairs on Tuesday 26th April after it effectively ran out of money and could no longer be sustained on a viable financial footing.
The appointed administrators have said that they are hoping to secure a buyer for the business, which has long been operating dozens of stores across the UK and Ireland but decided to close 31 unprofitable stores last year with the aid of a company voluntary arrangement.
As of this month there were a total of 1,184 people employed by the retail group, which was recently acquired by Alteri Investors, a company focussed primarily on buying and attempting to turn around struggling retail operations.
“Our priority now is to work with all stakeholders and determine the optimum route forward for the business as we continue to serve customers throughout the UK and Ireland,” statements given by the appointed administrators on Tuesday explained.
“Austin Reed is a well-regarded and iconic brand, and therefore we are confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers; as such, we expect, and welcome, contact from interested third parties.”
News of Austin Reed’s entry into administration emerged very soon after it became clear that efforts to rescue the retail group BHS (British Home Stores) in recent weeks had failed and that it would be entered into administration.
BHS’ failure puts as many as 11,000 jobs in jeopardy and could spell the end for one of the more iconic retail businesses on the British high street.
Austin Reed has been in business since 1900 and its entry into administration, along with BHS’ collapse on Monday, has made this one of the worst weeks for the UK’s retail sector since the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. With 100 offices across the UK, you’re never far away from expert and confidential advice.