Oxford St
Rebecca Wayman

Women's fashion retailer Coast falls into administration

Coast, the women’s fashion brand, has gone into administration.

The move has put 300 jobs at risk, marking a seemingly lasting threat for high street stores.

The collapse means that 24 stores will be immediately closed, including Coast’s Oxford Street location, in London.

Karen Millen has bought some parts of the company, however, and its website and department store concessions - in the likes of Debenhams and John Lewis - will continue trading.

It is said that around 600 staff will transfer to Karen Millen, however 300 of those remaining are unsettled by the future.

Mike Denny, joint administrator and PwC director, said Coast was facing financial strain for quite some time. He commented: “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.”

Coast was owned by Aurora Fashions, which also owns retailers Oasis and Warehouse. Aurora is controlled by Icelandic bank, Kaupthing.

Beth Butterwick, Coast’s chief executive, added: “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 position to create a lean and profitable business, ensuring it remains a thriving destination in department stores and online.”

The collapse of Coast follows the sad demise of other high street retailers in recent years, including Maplin and Toys R Us. As well as this, New Look has closed several of its stores to be able to continue trading.

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