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The Glasshouse back from brink

Womenswear independent The Glasshouse has been bought from administration by its founders, saving more than 20 jobs at the Windsor-based chain.

The six-store retailer, which had expanded rapidly since it was founded in 1998, ran into cash flow problems and was forced into administration on February 15.

The Glasshouse joint owners Janice Culshaw and Helen Gregory-Osborne formed a new company, Resource and Design Direction, to buy the retailer's trading name, stock and assets from administrator UHY Hacker Young. The move will allow the company to continue trading.

Culshaw said financial obligations towards The Glasshouse's shareholders had compounded its cash flow problems, which were blamed on poor footfall across the retail sector.

She said: "We have spoken to every one of our creditors face to face. We have told them that they will be paid for last season's goods."

Culshaw and Gregory-Osborne said they were now bullish about the future of the company. "We are in discussions to open a franchise in York and are planning to double the size of our Oxford store," said Culshaw.

The Glasshouse, which has stores in Guildford in Surrey, Brighton, Oxford, Windsor and Marlow in Buckinghamshire, was awarded the Best New Store accolade at the Drapers Awards back in 1999.

Culshaw and Gregory-Osborne are the sole shareholders of Resource and Design Direction. Culshaw added that they were looking for investment to fund further expansion.

The Glasshouse bills itself as catering for "real women", targeting customers aged 35 and over. It stocks an eponymous own brand and also offers labels including Hebbeding, Sarah Pacini and Crea Concept.

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