Coast, the premium women’s occasion wear retailer, was placed into administration today and fellow premium women’s chain Karen Millen quickly acquired its brand, website and concessions business. However Coast’s standalone stores and international concessions will close.
PwC were appointed as administrators for the business by parent company Aurora, which also owns the Warehouse and Oasis chains. Around 600 jobs from Coast have been transferred to Karen Millen while 300 remain at risk due to the closure of its 24 stores.
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 CEO Beth Butterwick added in s statement: “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.”
Karen Millen is owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing, which also owns Aurora Fashions. Coast was one of the businesses to take big hit when House of Fraser collapsed into administration in August and was owed almost £1m.