Coast collapses, 300 jobs at risk

Coast collapses, 300 jobs at risk

The fashion retailer Coast has collapsed into administration, risking 300 jobs.

Karen Millen owns parts of Coast, protecting the website and department store concessions, however, the 24 stand-alone stores will close immediately.

An estimated 300 employees are at risk of unemployment, whilst 600 will be transferred to Karen Millen.

The retailer was hit badly by the collapse of House of Fraser, which fell into administration owing Coast millions in debt.

“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,” said Mike Denny, joint administrator and PwC director.

“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’s chief executive, Beth Butterwick, said she was confident she would be able to boost sales in Coast items.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

A string of retailers have collapsed in that past year including Toys R Us, Maplins. Many other retailers including Homebase and Carpetright (LON: CPR) have had to close dozens of outlets to remain profitable amid the difficult trading conditions.