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Republic founders circle business

Republic founders Tim Whitworth and Carl Brewins are understood eyeing up the young fashion chain with a view to buying it back.

Drapers has learned that Whitworth and Brewins are considering teaming up with wholesale and distribution company Whispering Smith - previously known as Rajan Imports – to bring Republic out of administration.

It is understood that Whispering Smith, which supplied Republic, has “thousands of pounds worth” of stock in warehouses that could be put directly into stores.

Retail Week previously reported that Brewins was understood to be considering buying back the business, which he left last year.

There has also been speculation that young fashion retailer Blue Inc is contemplating a move to buy the young fashion retailer, although reports have suggested that it will operate Republic as a 50-store chain.

Another potential bidder is an unidentified US retailer, who is thought to be eyeing around 40 Republic stores.

While private equity firms including Better Capital and Apollo are also thought to be interested in snapping up the 121-store retailer.

Republic collapsed into administration yesterday. Ernst & Young has already axed 150 head office staff. Republic employs 2,500 staff.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Whispering Smith, what a load of tat

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  • Out the frying pan and into the fire, Whispering Smith your having a laugh, be ok if we were in the 90's, wake up can smell the coffee boys..

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  • Sounds like a disaster. It wouldn't last five minutes.

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  • Eric Musgrave

    I have no doubt that Carl and Tim have learned a lot from their difficult experiences of the past few years. I could see them doing a good job with a smaller, leaner Republic - maybe going back to being an important regional player. Rajan is a smart fella too and I see no reason why this alliance couldn't work. The casualwear arena is no more competitive than it's ever been, but online retailing is something they have to get their head around a bit better. If they can make a go of it in the current economic situation, they will be well placed to be sitting pretty in a few years' time when, hopefully, things will be better for the entire sector. Having been Just Jeans, Best Jeanswear, Best Trading Co and Republic, it wouldn't be impossible for them to change the name of the business and come back afresh if they do decide to return to the fray. Good luck to them - they could offer quite a few people some work.

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  • Product product product, not so sure i agree with the above, if and it's a very big if they can actually put product in the store that people want to buy then yes they have a chance. on a smaller scale.This type of retailing is dead in the water, totally missed the boat on E-tail, in fact the boat had arrived at it's destination long before they thought about getting on it ! Stores were packed to the gunnels, you could barely move in their, the ranges and most of the brands they stocked belonged in the 90's and noughty's, Jury's out, if Blue Inc do buy it then i think it will most likely work, which just about sum's up the current lack of talent and inspiration out there, mundane to say the very least, where is the vision to offer the next generation of teenagers somewhere pleasant and exciting to shop, is JD Sports the best we can come up with !

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  • Youth retailing needs a revolution.

    We are in a depressed creativity trap. Parents wearing Superdry is depressing, Jack Wills now seems such a cynical approach.

    Spirit of 1979-1981 done in a post modernist way, champions of youth, energy, useful and exciting retail space required.

    Best store in UK right now is Blitz O Blitz, a vintage store......

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  • .Spirit of 79-81?....What was so great about those 2 years against any others?..I would have said 76 - 79 then 91 - 94...but is happening but online...and niche online not with the big guys like asos.

    We were in vintage clothing during the 80's/ 90's and cleaned up whilst the UK was in a far worse recession than now....there were no tax credits then to subsidise life.........and now it's not all about youth.
    I don't think the chains + malls have any idea how many disillusioned shoppers (with cash to spend) there are in the 45+ age group who def do not shop in most chain stores. For them, it's all about the under 30's and yet the biggest chunk of spend out there just CBA to tromp around some nasty mall as they never grew up shopping in that way. They also don't like the tax avoiders so any chain not paying their way is avoided like the plague...and they have teen kids to spend on too.
    All the poeple I know do not buy from Starbucks now on principle....but they did pre-tax furore.
    There is room in the market for a few and they will prosper but a chain that chases a market share that is already well-covered is on a road to nowhere.
    My conclusion is there are now enough faceless chains in the market (a bit like during the 80's) and we need no more. The malls willl have to fill their space with other things (more processed food restuarants anyone?).

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  • Mark Ashton

    Totally agree with Eric. It would be one hell of a lean machine once the splinters are taken away. Little Mistress taking up a corner in each store, we would trade our socks off! It needs some brand ownership, choose the best brands, shake their hands and take the business forward. Some bands are on fire at the moment and they need to be embraced. A collective group of hot brands would really make this business, own brand product to top up the margins, it's a delicate balance but it is possible. USP? = The brands will create this with their innovative teams that Republic should also embrace.

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  • Little Mistress......miso in another name....

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  • Mark Ashton


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