Nougat’s owner and managing director Harry Rogers has been left “devastated” by the business’s fall into administration.
Nougat, which appointed administrators from Zolfo Cooper last Friday (November 21), blamed “a downturn in trade amid challenging market conditions” for the difficulties experienced by the brand house, which was founded in 1990.
Rogers said: “After 30 years in business, the day we went into administration was one of the saddest of my life. All fashion retailers are feeling it at the moment; the weather was so warm up until last week. It’s devastating.” He declined to comment further on the future of the business.
The company, which trades the brand names Nougat, Havren, Nougat Bath and Body and NGT for men, will continue to operate while options for a sale of all or part of the business are explored. During this period, the joint administrators – Claire Winder, Peter Saville and Anne O’Keefe – said they will “seek to ensure minimal disruption to the supply of goods to concessions stocking the company’s brands”. Its website has been taken down.
Nougat and Havren have over 50 stockists in the UK and Ireland. Audrey Filtness, owner of womenswear boutique Ordri in Farnham, which stocks Nougat, said: “I’m really disappointed. We’ve dealt with the brand for 10 years and it has always performed well. I hope they find a buyer that will keep it going.”
Others said a change of design ethos at Havren may have led to a slowing of sales. One independent retailer said: “I haven’t been impressed with them for a long time. They changed the designer at Havren a couple of seasons ago and it hasn’t been the same since then. It had been selling well up until that point, but it lost its way. It’s a real pity.”
Another former Havren stockist said she stopped selling the brand when the design changed. “The spring 15 range was useless so I haven’t bought it since.”
Flo Brooke was design director at Nougat for 23 years before leaving in January this year. Phillippa Winter, who was previously a designer at Boden for six years, was promoted from senior designer at Havren to head of design at Nougat and Havren in July.
Zolfo Cooper declined to comment on what would happen to the company and its staff, or how much is owed to creditors.