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Menswear retailers buckle under strain

Middle market menswear came under pressure this week, with Southern mini-chain Base entering administration as a further two chains teetered on the brink of liquidation. 

Base Retail, which trades as Base Menswear, appointed restructuring firm Portland on Tuesday, citing a squeeze in middle-market menswear and excessive business rates.

Four of its stores have been closed – Lakeside, Watford, Bromley and Luton – and at least 10 people made redundant. Details are being finalised as to the level of debt, as well as any payments that creditors might be able to expect.

However, the demise of the menswear business has not affected Base Childrenswear, which is registered asa separate entity on Companies House.

The five remaining stores – Basildon, Bluewater, Romford, Stratford and White City – will continue to trade as kidswear.

This week it also emerged that Scottish menswear mini-chain Core is poised to go into liquidation. At the end of last month the Paisley-based retailer’s owner, Northgale, announced it would hold a creditors meeting onFebruary 17 at administrator BDO’s office in Glasgow.

Drapers understands not all Core’s seven stores will close. One brand’s country manager said: “It’s going down to three stores. It’s very sad. We willcontinue to work with the company as it is an important partner in Scotland; there are very few people up there of that size.”

Duffer Menswear, which Drapers revealed was on the verge of liquidation last month (January 25), will hold a creditors meeting on  February 10, after which it is likely the business will officially go into liquidation. Duffer Menswear ceased trading on January 18 and closed its 15 stores in Northwest England.

Lawson Fox Business Recovery is managing the process but director and licensed insolvency practitioner Donna Cartmel said it was unlikely anything would be sold off.

“It had some prime positions in the towns and based on the current information it seems that rents, rates and falling footfall were the main problems,” she said.

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