Fears are mounting for the future of footwear chain Brantano after administrators failed to find a buyer for the firm last week.
Tony Barrell and Mike Jervis of PwC were appointed as joint administrators of Brantano on 22 March. It is the second time the business has hit the buffers in 14 months.
Footwear insiders said the firm is in a worse position than its former stablemate Jones Bootmaker, which was bought out of administration by private equity firm Endless in a pre-pack deal on 24 March.
Neil Smyth, partner at law firm Taylor Wessing, said the pre-pack was a “necessary evil” to shed unprofitable stores.
However, he said Brantano’s administrators were more likely to sell off individual sites and close others. “There will be wave after wave of redundancies,” he predicted.
The managing director of one brand stocked by Brantano said talks with administrators were ongoing.
“The majority of suppliers are exercising their retention of title rights and are no longer supplying so it won’t be long until it runs out of stock,” said another footwear source.
Brantano has 73 stores and 64 concessions across the UK and employs 1,086 people. Administrators from PwC said the stores will continue to trade while they try to sell parts of the business.
The retailer stopped trading online less than a week after falling into administration.
Brantano UK and Jones were acquired by Alteri Investors for €17m (£12.2m) from now bankrupt Dutch firm Macintosh in October 2015. Brantano fell into administration in January 2016, before being bought back by Alteri a month later through a pre-pack administration.