Bank Fashion collapses, putting 1,500 high street jobs at risk

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More than 1,500 high street jobs are at risk after the clothing chain Bank Fashion collapsed into administration.

Deloitte confirmed a team of its restructuring experts had been appointed as joint administrators of the loss-making retailer on Monday. The company, which is based in Bury in Lancashire, has 84 stores, most of them in the Midlands, northern England and Scotland. It has 1,555 employees.

No redundancies have been made at this time, Deloitte said, with all stores continuing to trade as normal.

“Bank has struggled in a highly competitive segment of the retail industry and has been loss-making for a number of years,” said Bill Dawson, one of the administrators. He said a review of the business had concluded that a “solvent turnaround would not be possible”, leading to the administrators’ appointment.

Bank changed hands at the end of last year when JD Sports sold it to the turnaround specialists Hilco.

There is some hope for its employees, given that several parties have already approached Deloitte to express an interest in the business.

“The administrators are trading as a going concern with a view to progressing these options and seeking further interested parties for some or all of the business,” Dawson said. “All stores are open as normal, staff have been paid and additional sale discounts will be implemented later this week.”

JD Sports paid £18.6m for the young fashion retailer, which sells more than 100 brands including Adidas Originals, G-Star and AX Paris, in 2007.

In a statement to the stock exchange announcing the sale to Hilco in November, JD Sports said Bank had made a loss of £8.1m in the year to 1 February 2014 and had gross assets of £51.7m at that date.

JD Sports’ executive chairman, Peter Cowgill, said at the time that the sale of Bank was in the “best interests of the group” and that he expected the deal to result in a “substantial recovery” of an intercompany loan. The size of that loan was not revealed.

Powered by article was written by Zoe Wood, for The Guardian on Monday 5th January 2015 17.02 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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