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Austin Reed collapse pushes Berwin & Berwin into the red

Supplier to stricken chain is recovering after writing off debts caused by administration.

Leeds tailoring business Berwin & Berwin is “bouncing back” after a tough period when the firm recorded a pre-tax loss of £1.1m for 12 months to 31 December.

The firm slipped into the red last year, which managing director Simon Berwin said was primarily caused by the collapse of Austin Reed, to which it was an unsecured creditor.

Austin Reed fell into administration in April this year and the name, its stock and five concessions were bought by AR Operations, part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.

Berwin & Berwin was a longstanding supplier to Austin Reed and, following its demise, wrote off debts totalling £845,757, which were included within its 2015 accounts, even though the collapse happened this year, Berwin said.

Turnover fell from £48m to £43.8m during the year, which he said was in part the result of focusing on higher-margin business.

“We were bruised because we chose to support a customer we had dealt with for 30 years but we’re not broken – we are bouncing back this year with numbers both top and bottom line ahead of budget year to date,” he told Drapers.

He said the weak pound is causing more challenges and urged retailers to pass on some of the necessary cost increases to consumers.

“We have all been squeezed so much that if retailers don’t start charging customers what it costs, there will be no suppliers left.”

Berwin & Berwin is a fourth-generation business, which has existed for more than 130 years. Its brands include Lambretta, Paul Costelloe, Baumler and Daniel Hechter.


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