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La Senza to shut 81 stores amid concerns suppliers could be left out of pocket

Lingerie retailer La Senza has said it is to close 81 of its 146 stores after announcing before Christmas that it was to go into administration.

On December 14 the chain, which was previously owned by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis before it was sold to private equity owners Lion Capital in 2006, called in KPMG to mull over a series of restructuring options, including administration.

Just over a week later on December 23, La Senza filed notice of its intention to appoint an administrator, with KPMG expected to formally be appointed administrator in the New Year.

According to reports in today’s Daily Mail, this may happen next week in a process which could leave the firm’s landlords and suppliers out of pocket.

It is thought that Lion is unlikely to recoup the £100m it paid for the business back in 2006, despite owning both the lingerie chain’s equity and its secured debt.

Any money owed to Lion is likely to be repaid ahead of that owed to the retailer’s landlords and suppliers.

An announcement on the La Senza website states that “many stores are closing down” and lists the details of the affected 81 stores, including Exeter, Cambridge, Newcastle and Wimbledon.

It is thought that around 2,600 jobs could go as a result of the store closures. On 21 December, it was reported that La Senza commercial director Beverley Williams, who heads up the business, had quit.

La Senza is the third big name on the high street to fall into administration in the last month. On December 8, footwear chain Barratts Priceless collapsed into administration for the second time in two years, making a total of 187 staff redundant.

On 19 December, young fashion retailer D2 also went into administration, closing 19 stores and making 200 staff redundant.  

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