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300 jobs at risk as fashion chain Coast collapses

Sky News logo Sky News 11/10/2018
coast retailer - pic: coast facebook © Other coast retailer - pic: coast facebook

Fashion chain Coast has collapsed into administration - putting 300 jobs at risk.

Despite this, 600 further jobs have been saved in a deal with upmarket womenswear rival Karen Millen.

It comes after Sky News revealed last month that Coast's parent company Aurora was accelerating efforts to find a buyer for the business, which was hit hard by House of Fraser's recent woes.

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Staff were being informed on Thursday evening of the collapse, which will see all 24 of Coast's standalone stores close and PwC appointed as administrators.

Aurora - which also owns high street retailers Oasis and Warehouse - is in turn owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing. Separately, Kaupthing directly owns Karen Millen.

PwC said Karen Millen had bought Coast's brand, website and concessions, taking on 600 staff.

Mike Denny, joint administrator and 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.

"Regrettably, other parts of the business including 24 retail stores were not included in the transaction."

Coast operates a substantial number of concessions in House of Fraser stores, and is said to have faced a multimillion pound bill following the department store's £90m sale via a pre-pack administration to Sports Direct.

It is one of dozens of HoF concession operators that have faced a financial hit from the structure of the takeover, while distribution partners have also been affected.

Accounts for Coast Fashions for the year ending 25 February 2017 showed a modest profit of £2.7m, its best performance for five years.

Other fashion brands to have taken a hit from House of Fraser's administration include Ted Baker, Mulberry and Quiz.


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