Failed Coast bought by Karen Millen, but standalones close
Coast became the latest casualty of the tough UK fashion environment on Thursday with an administration filing, although large parts of the business were quickly bought out of administration by Karen Millen.
The companies already had links with Coast, Oasis and Warehouse being owned by Aurora Fashions, which is itself owned by Karen Millen parent Kaupthing, the Icelandic bank.
Karen Millen said that it has agreed to buy certain parts of the Coast business “which will strengthen its position within the premium womenswear market.”
Under its new parent, Coast will trade primarily across its various websites, in concessions across the UK and through wholesale and franchise partners. Its concessions are in department stores, including House of Fraser, Debenhams and John Lewis and the HoF failure reportedly was a major problem for the business.
Its standalone stores and the concessions on mainland Europe are not included in the deal and these have already closed. Coast had only 18 standalones but these were in premium locations such as Oxford Street and Westfield.
Coast gift cards and returns will continue to be honoured, Karen Millen said.
While it's good news for the roughly 600 employees of the failed company who are now part of the Karen Millen group, 300 other employees face an uncertain time and the big question is whether the new owner will be able to make a go of it.
Karen Millen said it’s confident that it can “leverage its product expertise and existing global relationships to drive growth potential across Coast’s sales channels.”
CEO Beth Butterwick said: “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.”
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