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Hut buyout raises doubts over future of Coggles name

The Hut Group’s acquisition of Coggles has met with mixed responses from the industry, with some concerned that the York premium indie’s name will not live on.

Last week the etailer, which owns several webites including Drapers Footwear & Accessories Award winner MyBag.com, bought Coggles out of administration.

The Hut Group acquired Coggles’ assets including stock and intellectual property such as the brand name and the company’s domain name.

However, as a result of the deal the indie’s two remaining stores have been shuttered and all staff made redundant.

On announcing the deal Andy Clay, joint administrator at Begbies Traynor, said: “Our primary duty is to bring about the optimum return for creditors and the offer from The Hut Group was an extremely good deal.

“Unfortunately, most of the interest we received was from potential purchasers wanting to acquire the online side of Coggles’ business, which represented the bulk of turnover, rather than for its retail outlets. This means the stores in York have closed and the remaining staff have been made redundant.”

Clay added: “While it is sad to see Coggles disappearing from the high street for the time being, and the loss of employment for the remaining staff, it is positive that the business will continue as part of a large and successful specialist online retail group.”

Some industry figures expressed relief at the sale, with the manager of one brand formerly stocked at Coggles saying it was “great news” for the business.

But others expressed concern about the future of Coggles, particularly over the mixing of business models. One brand owner said: “It’s very rare for a value-end organisation to make a premium product outlet work, especially when it’s a bricks-and-mortar operation.

“Both firms are used to different business models and work structures. Value-end vendors buy big, buy cheap and sell cheap. They normally don’t have the back-end organisational structure to cope with the mindset or work style of a premium indie,” the source said.

One young fashion agent said the deal paved the way for The Hut Group to launch its own premium site, called Mylabel.com. Currently the URL redirects to The Hut Group’s site.

The source said: “It would make sense for The Hut Group to get the Coggles customer database as it would be a great fit for its new premium apparel venture.”

No one from The Hut Group wasavailable for comment.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Should it live on? Whatever you think of The Hut Group - and personally speaking that isn't a lot - Why would they want to keep a name associated with failure...?

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  • Its sad that the recession claimed such a great store. After 40 years in business I don't think people will associate Coggles with failure. That's such an English attitude.

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