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Elaine McPherson buys Ethel Austin for second time

Ethel Austin, the value chain, has been sold back to Elaine McPherson for a second time for an undisclosed amount.

Administrator MCR has sold the business, comprising 90 stores, to Life & Style Retail Limited a new company created by former MK One boss McPherson.

Ethel Austin hit the buffers in early February after being impacted by a lack of banking facilities and poor trade in January.

Since its collapse, MCR has shuttered around 200 stores and made about 2,300 redundancies.

MCR joint administrator Geoff Bouchier said: “This is positive news for the 1,183 employees who were facing an uncertain future.  We are pleased with the result and believe this is a suitable outcome, especially considering the tough market and the lasting financial pressures from the recession.”

McPherson originally bought Ethel Austin, and sister chain homewares business Au Naturale, out of two separate administration processes in 2008.

Au Naturale is not included as part of the sale and MCR said that it remained in negotiations with potential buyers for the homewares business.

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