Written by: Keith Tully
Reviewed: Thursday 20th September, 2018
The well-known fashion brand led by and named after the Irish designer Orla Kiely has closed its stores and shut down its website as it heads for liquidation.
Statements given on behalf of the business have said that it will be entering voluntary liquidation in response to “various challenges” that have seen its profits slump dramatically in recent quarters.
Kiely Rowan, the fashion retailer’s parent company, posted revenues worth £8.3 million for the year to March 2017 but its profits fell significantly during the following full year of trading.
A key part of the problem for the company is believed to be that the scale of interest required to be paid on its debts increased sharply last year.
Orla Kiely as a brand became well known in recent years partly for its eye-catchingly colourful pattern designs but also for having high profile customers including the Duchess of Cambridge and Alexa Chung.
Plans are now in place to see all of its assets sold off to pay creditors in the coming days, with its in-store staff having already been made redundant.
Julie Palmer from the corporate insolvency experts of Begbies Traynor has said that the collapse of Orla Kiely demonstrates the vulnerability of all high street retailers.
“Orla Kiely had the backing of high-profile celebrities and clearly had appeal to the latest generation of shoppers,” said Ms Palmer.
“If this latest news shows anything, it’s that there is no magic formula to success. Celebrity endorsements and being on trend don’t always guarantee results.”
The news about Orla Kiely’s fashion business comes soon after the department store chain House of Fraser collapsed into administration and in a year in which several other hugely well-known names have disappeared from the British high street, including Toys R Us and Maplin.
Meanwhile, the likes of New Look and Mothercare have been forced to close stores to drastically cut costs as they battle to avoid insolvency.
“Businesses must remain vigilant, adapt and innovate with a core strength if they are to ride out this distressing time for retail,” said Ms Palmer from Begbies Traynor.
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