Clothing chain goes broke for second time

Jobs to go as Ashley puts USC into administration

Mike AshleyMike Ashley’s fashion chain USC has been put into administration leaving 1,000 staff uncertain about their jobs.

A third of USC’s 90 stores will close. Staff at the USC warehouse in Dundonald Ayrshire were given redundancy notices on Wednesday when trucks arrived to remove stock.

The company, which began in 1989 as a single store in Edin­burgh, has appointed Duff & Phelps as administrators, the same firm that handled the Rangers collapse. Gallaghers, a law firm, will also be involved in proceedings.

Founded by Angus Morrison and David Douglas, it was sold to Sir Tom Hunter in 2004 for £43 million, but four years later it fell into administration. Hunter bought back 43 stores in a pre-pack deal through his West Coast Capital acquisition vehicle, which saved 1,127 jobs.

Ashley acquired an 80% share in USC in 2011 for £7 million through his Sports Direct company.

In early 2012, Sports Direct bought the remaining 20%. USC’s Head Office remained in Dundonald where Hunter had launched Sports Division years earlier.

A year later Sports Direct purchased Republic out of administration in 2013 merged the business with USC.

It is believed that fashion label Diesel’s request for payment of overdue debts was behind the decision to put USC into administration for a second time.



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