Karen Millen snaps up Coast as­sets as it faces ad­min­is­tra­tion

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Wil Crisp

THE women’s cloth­ing re­tailer Coast has gone into ad­min­is­tra­tion, be­com­ing the lat­est high-pro­file high-street chain to col­lapse.

Parts of the busi­ness have been bought out by sis­ter com­pany Karen Millen.

The deal will save 600 jobs and 145 de­part­ment-store con­ces­sions, but 300 fur­ther jobs re­main at risk as 24 of its high-street shops are cur­rently set to close.

PwC has been ap­pointed as ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Mike Denny, a PwC direc­tor, said: “The busi­nesses had been fac­ing fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties due to struc­tural chal­lenges in the re­tail space and specif­i­cally the con­ces­sion part­ner mar­ket, as well as a soft­en­ing of de­mand for oc­ca­sion wear.

“This sale puts the on­go­ing busi­ness on a firmer fi­nan­cial foot­ing. Karen Millen will be work­ing with the ex­ist­ing man­age­ment team to con­tinue to grow and de­velop the new busi­ness.”

Un­der Karen Millen, Coast will trade pri­mar­ily across its var­i­ous web­sites, in con­ces­sions across the UK and through whole­sale and fran­chise part­ners.

Beth But­ter­wick, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Karen Millen, said: “We are ex­cited to be wel­com­ing over 600 Coast em­ploy­ees to the Karen Millen fam­ily.”

She added: “Our ex­per­tise and in­fras­truc­ture puts us in a unique po­si­tion to create a lean and prof­itable busi­ness, en­sur­ing it re­mains a thriv­ing des­ti­na­tion in de­part­ment stores and on­line.”

Over 2018 the high street has been rocked by a wave of store clo­sures and in­sol­ven­cies as re­tail­ers bat­tle ris­ing costs, wan­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence and low foot­fall. The de­part­ment store group House of Fraser went into ad­min­is­tra­tion in Au­gust, ow­ing mil­lions of pounds to sup­pli­ers. It was bought for £90m by bil­lion­aire re­tailer Mike Ash­ley.

Maplin, Toy R Us and Pound­world have al­ready col­lapsed this year, while Mother­care, Car­petright and New Look have all closed stores.

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