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Ethel Austin secures funding

Discount retailer Ethel Austin is set to complete a refinancing deal to ensure its future, following rumours of late payments to staff and suppliers.

Ethel Austin is understood to be in advanced negotiations with an unnamed investor and is poised to finalise a deal to drive working capital in to the business.

Elaine McPherson, who bought the retailer out of administration in 2008, is believed to have put £5.5m in to the Merseyside-based business.

Suppliers are understood to have not received payment for bills due before Christmas and staff are believed to have been told this week that they will be paid late this month.

However, the business is poised to expand its 300 store portfolio and denied that it was in trouble.

McPherson also bought homewares retailer Au Naturale out of administration in 2008 shortly after the Ethel Austin acquisition and converted stores to sell both chains’ products.

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