Jaeger administrators to axe staff, close 20 stores as clearance sales continue
The administrators of failed fashion business Jaeger delivered bad news Tuesday saying they would close 20 of its stores and cuts 253 jobs as they continue to seek a solution that can salvage parts of the business.
And earlier brand owner Harold Tillman criticised Better Capital, which owned Jaeger until this month, slamming their lack of fashion experience.
Of the jobs that are being cut, 209 will be in the brand’s stores with the rest spread across its head office and distribution operations.
Administrators at AlixPartners have been in charge since before Easter after private equity firm Better Capital threw in the towel following half a decade of ownership. During its time in charge, it closed stores and took Jaeger back to its conservative-classic roots, but struggled against tough times on the high street and often resorted to markdowns to shift inventory.
Now administrator Peter Saville has said that the remaining stores are not all viable. He said that the operating costs many stores made them “financially unviable given the company’s difficulties”.
Clearance sales continued at the stores during the Easter holidays but there is clearly still hope that a going concern business can be salvaged from the Jaeger wreckage with the planned closures representing fewer than half of the company’s 46 stores, without even taking its 63 concessions into account.
Jaager currently employs nearly 700 people in its stores, in its London HQ and its Norfolk logistics centre.
The stores to close are spread across the country from Amersham to Guildford, Belfast, Oxford, Chester, Edinburgh and Bluewater.
This reporter visited the latter at the weekend and and saw plenty of people browsing the clearance sale, although with relatively small discounts on the ultra-classic pieces on offer, there seemed to be no scramble to grab a bargain.
It is still unclear though what the next step will be after the closures and redundancies. Earlier this month it had been hoped that the business would be bought Philip day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill and that company is rumoured to still be in the frame as it is believed to be the unnamed buyer of Jaeger’s debt load.
Meanwhile, in an interview with The Telegraph, former owner Harold Tillman said Better Capital had too little fashion experience and should never have axed Jaeger’s more trend-focused, younger labels.
While some analysts have said Jaeger should have focused more on its core middle-aged, classic customer, Tillman believes the strategy it followed under his control was the right one.
He also called for insolvency laws to change after he said the company’s bankers sold its debt to Better Capital without his knowledge in 2012 while he was working on other rescue deals. The bank, Lloyds, has denied that.
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