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Latest high street victim

Shops close as Coast fashion chain collapses

Coast fashion

Fashion victim: latest casualty


Women’s clothing retailer Coast has become the latest casualty on the high street after being forced into administration.

Sister company Karen Millen immediately acquired parts of the business, saving 600 jobs and 145 department-store concessions. However, 24 high street shops are likely to close, affecting 300 staff.

Coast is owned by Aurora Fashions, which also owns retailers Oasis and Warehouse. The group is in turn owned by the Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

Mike Denny, of administrator PwC, 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.”

Under Karen Millen, Coast will trade primarily across its various websites, in concessions across the UK and through wholesale and franchise partners.

Beth Butterwick, CEO of Karen Millen, said: “We are excited to be welcoming over 600 Coast employees to the Karen Millen family.”

Coast had a number of concessions in House of Fraser and was owed millions after the department store chain itself collapsed earlier this year.

This year has seen other retail chain failures, including Maplin, Toys R Us, and Poundworld, while Mothercare, Carpetright and New Look have all closed stores. Quiz Clothing last week issued a profits warning.

The owner of the Patisserie Valerie cafe chain is looking an “an immediate injection of capital” to continue trading in its current form.

The company said it had uncovered “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”.


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