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Pure Collection appoints administrators

Cashmere brand Pure Collection has appointed administrators, resulting in 74 staff redundancies.

The Harrogate-headquartered business, founded in 2002, appointed Howard Smith and Will Wright of KPMG as joint administrators on 4 February. 

Pure Collection closed all eight of its stores shortly before the administrators’ appointment but continues to trade through its website. Its store in Chichester shut on 22 January, followed by the remaining seven stores on the 29 January. These were in Guildford, Marlow, Shrewsbury, Tunbridge Wells, York, Northcote Road London and Braintree clearance outlet. 

Of the business’ 205 employees, 74 were made redundant following the appointment of administrators. Most of these staff held roles in store.  

Smith, associate partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “Pure Collection has long been held in high regard by British retailers and consumers alike, as shown by consistently strong sales. However, it continues to face the headwinds shared by many on the high street alongside the running of its ecommerce operations.

“We anticipate the company continuing to trade as normal through its website, in the coming months, as we look to secure new investment and protect the future of the business.”

A source close to the situation said: ”They are obviously hoping to salvage something of the business, but the challenge of contemporary relevance remains.”

In its latest results, Pure Collection swung to an operating loss of £658,771 for the 12 months to 31 August 2018, down from an operating profit of £151,519 in the previous year. Turnover shrank 7.7% to £35.5m.

Former womenswear director at Debenhams and John Lewis Jo Hooper left her role as product director at the cashmere brand in January 2018. Hooper has since launched her own womenswear brand Nrby.

It followed the departure of CEO, John Nicholas, in September 2016 after just five months in the role. Nicholas was replaced by Sam Harrison, who was promoted from operations director to acting chief executive. 

In February 2018, Pure Collection agreed to a settlement with the US government totalling more than $900,000 (£647,500), after a whistleblower claimed that the company was evading duties on goods shipped from the UK to customers in the US.

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