Thursday 11 October 2018 7:33 pm

Karen Millen buys Coast after collapse but 300 jobs still at risk


Fashion retailer Coast has collapsed into administration, putting an estimated 300 jobs at risk. 

Retail rival Karen Millen has bought the brand’s website and UK department store concessions, it announced this evening, however all 24 stand alone Coast outlets and European concessions will close.

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A total of 600 jobs have transferred to Karen Millen, but a further 300 jobs are still at risk.

The company, which is owned by Oasis and Warehouse owner Aurora fashions, has appointed PwC as administrator.

PwC joint administrator and director Mike Denny 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. We will make every effort to help those employees in parts of the business that were not included in the sale and will support those affected at this difficult time by liaising with the Redundancy Payments Service and Job Centre Plus.”

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

"With its beautiful fabrics, stunning colours and signature designs, Coast is a much-loved fashion brand that has dressed women for all occasions since 1996.

"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.”

The news follows a string of high profile collapses and store closures on the UK high street, which has affected brands such as House of Fraser and New Look.

UK retail sales grew by their lowest rate for almost a year last month, according to figures from KPMG and the British Retail Consortium. 

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