The fashion industry is fearing for 133-year-old premium retailer Jaeger’s place on the British high street, after the firm officially entered administration on Monday afternoon.
Around 680 jobs are at risk across the chain, which has 46 stores and 63 concessions, a head office in London and a logistics site in King’s Lynn.
A source familiar with the situation indicated to Drapers that Dubai-based property investment company Kings Land has bought Jaeger’s debt, which was sold by a fund controlled by private equity firm Better Capital last month.
However, sources suggested that Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) is set to acquire the retailer in a pre-pack deal. It is thought EWM would close Jaeger’s stores and operate it primarily as an online brand, but the group declined to comment on any details relating to a sale.
EMW acquired Austin Reed and CC, formerly known as Country Casuals, under similar circumstances last year. In November EMW said it would invest around £100m into relaunching Austin Reed and open 50 stores in its first three years. However, property sources and suppliers Drapers spoke to this week said they are still waiting to hear plans on the store rollout.
Meanwhile, Jaeger suppliers said they stand to lose significant sums of money and called for a change in the law.
One supplier, who did not wish to be named, said: “It is all very predictable. It’s time someone started looking at the rules and regulations that allow this to happen. The owner didn’t have the appetite to invest the money required and didn’t engage with the industry to take any advice.”
“This shouldn’t be allowed to go on,” said another source. “It is so upsetting.”
She added that EWM personnel were in the Jaeger head office last week to discuss sharing suppliers with its brands including Peacocks: “EWM were talking about supplier sharing with Peacocks, which is very different in terms of quality, fit and sizing.”
Drapers exclusively revealed last week that Jaeger’s directors had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrator AlixPartners at the High Court to give the firm “breathing space” to explore options for its future.
AlixPartners joint administrator Peter Saville said his focus now is on “identifying an appropriate route forward and to work with all stakeholders to do this”.
The news comes weeks after Drapers revealed half of the 71 head office jobs at footwear chain Brantano have been axed after it went into administration in March, while sister chain Jones Bootmaker was acquired by private equity firm Endless in a pre-pack deal.
Menswear retailer Blue Inc filed for a CVA to enable it to shut unprofitable stores and reduce rents, and Four Marketing, the agency in which Sports Direct has a 25% stake, acquired lingerie brand Agent Provocateur through a pre-pack deal.
AlixPartners declined to comment further.
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