Updated: USC has been bought out of administration by its original owner West Coast Capital today.
Insolvency firm PFK, which is handling the administration of USC, confirmed it had sold 43 of USC’s 58 stores to a company called Dundonald Holdings, which is owned by Sir Tom Hunter’s West Coast Capital. Some 1,100 jobs have been saved.
The remaining 15 stores will be operated by PFK while a buyer is sought
USC is the latest fashion retail chain to fall victim to extremely difficult trading. Envy, one of USC’s direct competitors, completed a similar pre-pack administration deal earlier this month. Meanwhile kidswear chain Adams is on the brink of administration and menswear chain The Officers Club was rescued from administration by its management.
West Coast Capital partner Jim MacMahon said: “The survival of the core business could only be secured through this deal. Ultimately we had to ask ourselves what’s better the loss of 15 stores or all 58? The answer was unequivocal.”
“Having taken that action we are now confident that with the support of our suppliers and landlords, with whom we are now negotiating, that we can deliver a strong a profitable business with sustainable employment prospects for the remaining staff going forward.”
“We had to take action to ensure the survival of the core business particularly given prevailing market conditions. We will continue to invest in the business.”
PFK administrator Bryan Jackson said: “The impact of the credit crunch is continuing to spread into the wider economy beyond the property and financial sectors. As has been well publicised retail operators are facing extremely challenging times. Given these circumstances this is a positive deal which retains the majority of jobs and shops to ensure the core part of the USC business will continue with further investment to assist in the future survival of the remaining 43 stores.”