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Karen Millen Australia placed into administration

Lauretta Roberts
04 September 2019

Karen Millen Australia has been placed into administration following the acquisition of its brand and e-commerce business in the UK by online fashion group Boohoo.

The premium fashion brand operates seven stores in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, which will be now be closed, leading to around 80 job losses. As well as the stores it operated eight concessions with department stores David Jones and Myer across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Deloitte was appointed official administrator on Wednesday 4 September for the Australian arm. Deloitte's Tim Norman said the Australian business achieved sales of AUS $19 million in the last financial year.

"With the UK business now sold and the label withdrawing from Australia, we expect to wind down the business here and progressively close all stores in the coming weeks," he said.

Boohoo acquired the Karen Millen brand and online operations from Icelandic bank Kaupthing for £18m in a pre-pack deal last month. Its 32 UK stores and 177 concessions were not included in the deal and will continue to trade throughout the administration process. However, they are expected to close in due course and its flagship branch on the corner of Regent Street and Princes Street, for example, is currently running a massive clearance sale.

Following the acquisition Karen Millen CEO Beth Butterwick, who had been trying to reposition it as a global lifestyle brand via a series of licensing deals, left the business. In addition a number of roles were cut at its London HQ with some staff offered transferred to Boohoo's base in Manchester.

Boohoo has said it will relaunch Karen Millen as an online only proposition in October. The acquisition represents the group's first move into the premium space with the rest of its brands, Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gap and Miss Pap, firmly positioned in the young, fast fashion space.


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