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Agent Provocateur to restructure following an ‘accountancy error’

British lingerie firm Agent Provocateur is restructuring after difficult trading conditions and an accountancy error caused parent company 3i Group to write down the value of the business.

Agent Provocateur

The brand said it will now focus on its main line rather than its diffusion line, L’Agent, which launched in 2013. It will also concentrate on key markets and the launch of a selective wholesale distribution in 2017.

It is understood that some store closures and redundancies are likely.

Private equity and venture capital company 3i Group said a slowdown in the retail market had caused a drop in luxury spend in many of the retailer’s key markets. It added that this was compounded by the “inconsistent execution of its recent store expansion programme and the discovery of accounting issues”.

As a result, it reduced the value of its investment in Agent Provocateur by £39m in the six months to 30 September.

Fabrizio Malverdi, CEO of Agent Provocateur, said: “In view of the current challenges impacting the business, we are putting in place a new strategic plan, which includes a restructuring of the business. Agent Provocateur will focus on its main brand and key markets, as well as the launch of a selective wholesale distribution in 2017.

“Agent Provocateur is an iconic brand known for product innovation and creativity. I firmly believe that with this strategy and reorganisation, we will be strongly positioned for sustainable growth and long-term success.”

In the UK, Agent Provocateur has concessions in Selfridges and Harrods, as well as five stores in London and one each in Manchester and Glasgow.

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