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USC rescued from administration

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.”

Readers' comments (6)

  • eh, so who actually owns USC just now? Was it not Tom Hunter and co anyway????? How can you buy a business you already own? The shops are a joke anyway like the majority of the high street dross.

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  • These 'pre-packaged administration' deals are a complete joke and should be outlawed. USC is just another badly run chain and I expect many more stores like them to 'buy themselves back' next year.

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  • The company are ridiculous !

    Heres the dear - Tom Hunter bailed them out from going into administration a few years back, he put millions into the company and bought them using AJT Trading Ltd, owned by Alan Kinney, Jim Mcgonigle and Tom Hunter. They also used to own d2 clothing and Qube Footwear which were sold at the start of the year to JJB.
    In order to clear the debt of USC, Tom's has used his own holding company Dundonald Holdings to purchase them - which therefore means he has basically cleared all the debt they owes from USC through the adminstrators because in light the company is now owned by "someone else". This then leaves serious financial problems for other companies who USC have unpaid bills for = more crisis and lost jobs.
    This man knows what he is doing in the business side of thing, hes a scam artist and has been doing it for years.
    The amount of money that USC used to spend on their accounts was obsurd, no cheap stationery for them, had to be the best of the best !!

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  • Tom - Now is your opportunity to look at your buyers, the product offer, look at the stores standards and customer service.
    USC has gone down hill, USC looks like D2!! - Understand a pre-pack deal had been done, fair enough get use to it everyone as it will be the way of the high st over the coming years, a way to get out of poorly performing stores with high rents and inflexible landlords - I am sure there are suppliers who will loose money, but actually might be grateful for the exit strategy as the brand mix and adjancies became debatable in USC - and as for the own label offer, this is ill concieved and poor quality!

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  • It's nice to see that everyone is thinking about all those jobs that he saved.

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  • jobs he has saved in the shops maybe, but what about the employees of the creditors who he owes thousands to??? think about them instead of bigging up your (obvious) boss!!!!

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