Base Retail, parent company of Base Menswear, has entered administration, citing a squeeze in middle-market menswear and excessive rates.
Four of its stores have been closed – Lakeside, Watford, Bromley and Luton – and at least 10 people have been made redundant.
The business appointed restructuring firm Portland as administrator yesterday, and details are being finalised as to the amount of debt left, as well as payment that creditors might be able to expect.
However the demise of the menswear business has not affected Base Childrenswear, which is registered as a separate entity on Companies House.
Managing director Marc Granditer told Drapers: “The men’s business has been challenging with a capital ‘C’ for a number of years. We have seen our market diminish to a point where it’s become unsustainable. After poor Christmas trading, I had no choice but to take this action.
“Rents are always difficult, but generally landlords are receptive. The real problem is the rates – the absurd situation in some of our stores where we were paying twice as much rates as rent. It’s obscene.”
“Our children’s business is unaffected and remains strong,” he added. “This restructuring will allow us to focus 100% on the children’s market going forward.”
The five remaining stores – Basildon, Bluewater, Romford, Stratford and White City – are currently trading, and Granditer said he hoped to continue in those locations, if not necessarily in the current stores.
Granditer added: “It’s family business, I’ve known the staff a long time, and it’s not been easy to get through this situation. It was done with a very heavy heart.
“We hope we can come out of this the other side, really move forward as a childrenswear retailer which is the niche we want to fill.”