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No buyer found for Oasis and Warehouse and chains will stop trading

Lauretta Roberts
30 April 2020

No buyer has been found for fashion chains Oasis and Warehouse. The stores will close indefinitely and online sales will be stopped, administrator Deloitte has confirmed.

The failure to save any part of Oasis Warehouse Limited, the company behind the two brands, as well as menswear etailer The Idle Man and Bastyan Fashions, will result in the loss of 1,803 jobs.

Deloitte said it had sold the intellectual property and the company’s stock to restructuring expert Hilco Capital, but Hilco had decided not to buy the rest of the business.

Administrator Rob Harding said: “Covid-19 has presented extraordinary challenges which have devastated the retail industry. It is with great sadness that we have to announce a sale of the business has not been possible and that we are announcing so many redundancies today.”

He added: “This is a very difficult time for the group’s employees and other key stakeholders and we will do everything we can to support them through this.

“We would like to thank all the employees and other key stakeholders in the group for their continued support.”

Oasis and Warehouse, which were owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing, had been in talks with a potential buyer as the COVID-19 lockdown was implemented. However it had become impossible to sell it as a going concern and Deloitte was appointed on 15 April.

CEO Hash Ladha revealed he had left the business earlier this week.

Sofie Willmott, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Like the Gordon Brothers' rescue deal for Laura Ashley, investment firm Hilco's purchase of the Oasis and Warehouse brands excludes their store portfolios, bringing yet more bad news for retail landlords that have already been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the online channel accounting for almost 30% of UK clothing & footwear spend in 2019 and the shift to digital being accelerated in 2020 due to non-essential store closures, companies buying up retailers are not interested in their physical estate.

“Oasis and Warehouse operated around 90 standalone branches – a far smaller estate than many of their competitors – but were present in over 400 department stores which will leave struggling retailers like Debenhams and House of Fraser with gaping holes in their womenswear stock when they are able to reopen. With more clothing specialists at risk of collapse over the next few months as demand for fashion items remains depressed, department store retailers are at risk of losing more of their third-party brands.”

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