Thursday 30 March 2017

Fears for jobs as Jane Norman put in administration

fashion

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

THE future of Jane Norman's 16 Irish stores hung in the balance last night after an administrator took control of the fashion chain.

The business was placed in administration after the banks that control it failed to find a buyer through an auction process.

Yesterday, the shops remained closed pending the outcome of the administrators' efforts to find a buyer.

British-based Jane Norman has more than 1,600 staff working in over 200 shops and concessions. In Ireland, the concessions are mainly in the Debenhams chain of department stores.

Yesterday, specialist restructuring experts Zolfo Cooper were appointed as joint administrators to the business, including the Irish operations.

Icelandic investment firm Baugur bought the chain for £117.4m (€131.5m) in 2005, in a deal financed largely with debt. Last year, the lender banks, led by RBS, took control of the company after restructuring £136m owed by the business.

The retail chain focuses on fashion for young women and teenagers, but has been under pressure from rising costs and lower-cost competitors.

In a statement, the administrators offered little cheer for Jane Norman's employees or landlords.

"Following a period of testing trading conditions, the company has experienced severe cash-flow difficulties which resulted in the board requesting the appointment of the administrators. Discussions continue with relevant parties and further detail will be provided when made available," they said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers had been seeking a buyer for the bank consortium that ended up owning the firm before it was taken into administration.

Banks took control of Jane Norman following the collapse of its Icelandic owners Baugur and Kaupthing, and after the company breached the conditions attached to its huge debts.

Women look into a closed Jane Norman store in London, U.K., on Monday, June 27, 2011. The Jane Norman clothing chain went into administration today, a spokeswoman for Zolfo Cooper, which has been appointed administrator, said in a phone interview. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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