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Former MD stages buyout to keep Chatham afloat

Marine-inspired clothing and footwear brand Chatham has been bought out of receivership after it collapsed last month.

Brian James, ex-managing director of Chatham Clothing Company, bought the stock, debtor book and trade name of the business for an undisclosed sum from the administrators and is now trading as Chatham Marine Ltd.

The previous company had 347 footwear stockists and 200 clothing accounts, stores in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and Padstow in Cornwall, as well as a catalogue and transactional website. James said it had made losses on its clothing business for the past three years. He added that its main shareholders, two private Portuguese investors, had decided not to continue backing the company and had failed to come to an agreement to sell it before its collapse.

Following this, Chatham is to drop its clothing collection for this autumn, before relaunching it for spring 08. It will steer away from the more fashionable items it has tried recently and will stick to core basics like polo shirts. Footwear will also be expanded to add more deck shoe options.

In addition, the brand aims to open more stores within the next two years.James said it would open up to 10 shops of 800 sq ft to 1,000 sq ft in locations similar to its existing ones.

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