Australian plus-size retailer Taking Shape has closed its 25 UK stores and appointed Turpin Barker Armstrong as liquidator for its UK subsidiary, Taking Shape UK.
The retailer launched in the UK in September 2012 offering clothing ranging from eveningwear to activewear in sizes 14 to 26 for women aged 35 to 65.
It had stores in locations including Kingston upon Thames, Newbury, Solihull, Worcester, Leamington Spa, Liverpool, Bristol and Maidstone.
“The market in Australia has been challenging for them and because trade there hasn’t been as successful, they’ve decided to focus energy and cash in that market,” a source close to the situation told Drapers. “In the UK it was still at the early stages [and] needed quite a lot of work.
“When they came here, 20 shops opened in a few weeks. I don’t think they did enough market research. They thought they could replicate the formula used in Australia and New Zealand. You need to adapt the colour range and collection, and understand what the customer is looking for.”
Drapers understands the UK team had refined the product and sales were improving but the Australian parent firm did not want to invest further.
In the latest accounts filed at Companies House, Taking Shape UK made a loss of £2.3m in the year to June 30 2015. Sales rose from £2.6m in 2014 to £5.9m during the year. It employed 127 people.
The retailer’s UK website now redirects to the Australian site.
Drapers has contacted Taking Shape in Australia for comment.