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Austin Reed to close 120 stores and axe 1,000 jobs

Edinburgh Woollen Mill has bought the Austin Reed name and its stock, but 1,000 jobs are set to be lost after administrators failed to find a buyer for its stores.

Administrators from AlixPartners have sold five concessions within Boundary Mills outlet villages to AR Operations Limited and 28 employees will be transferred to this company, which is owned by The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.

The five concessions are located in Colne, Grantham, Rotherham, Shiremoor and Walsall.

The Austin Reed and Country Casuals brands, meanwhile, have been sold to fellow Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group company Border IP Limited.

“We have explored all options to sell the business since our appointment and continued to trade the business with the support of the secured creditors in what is clearly an extremely challenging retail environment,” said joint administrator Peter Saville.

“Despite a significant number of interested parties coming forward during this period it became clear as the process progressed that a viable solution which kept the business whole was not forthcoming.

“As a result we have made the difficult decision to cease trading the business and commence a wind-down of the estate. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all employees for their support and efforts during this unsettling period and wish them well for the future.”

Drapers previously reported there has been interest in the group’s portfolio of stores, located predominantly in affluent market towns.

The administrators have not yet disclosed the fate of Austin Reed Group’s other brand, Viyella.

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