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Future of Envy chain unclear

The future shape of young branded fashion chain Envy is unclear.

Sources in the market said owner John Kinnaird, who bought the young fashion business from Alexon Group for £1 this year, was planning a “restructuring” of the company that would see him streamline the Envy portfolio and offload a number of unprofitable stores.

Sources told Drapers that Kinnaird was looking at a number of options for the business which could include a possible pre-pack administration deal of Style Menswear, Envy’s parent company. There are reports that Envy has already been placed into administration but these could not be verified this morning.

It is unclear whether Envy suppliers would be affected by the situation. Envy stocks French Connection, Lambretta, Peter Werth and Vera Moda alongside its own labels Tom Wolfe and Parkes.

According to a filing at Companies House, Kinnaird incorporated a new company called Envy Retail on November 6. He is listed as a director of the business along with Andrew Caplan, whose occupation is given as a solicitor.

The purpose of the company is not declared but sources expect some of Envy’s leases to be transferred to the business.
Sources said Envy continued to experience difficult trading since it was bought by Kinnaird. At the time of the deal Envy was loss-making and had about 55 shops and 60 concessions in department stores. Envy’s concession business is believed to have shrunk dramatically in the past year.

Kinnaird has been fairly active in the fashion sector for the past two years. In 2007 he bought footwear chain Dolcis, also from Alexon, but it went into administration at the start of this year after a financial backer withdrew support.

This autumn, Kinnaird rescued Faith from administration for a rumoured £1 million and said he intended to create a group of fashion businesses with shared central resources to help with cost savings. The group includes Envy, Faith and young fashion brand Chilli Pepper.
It is unclear how Faith is trading in the downturn but Kinnaird is thought to have inherited £10m of stock via the rescue deal.

Kinnaird was unavailable for comment.

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