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Happit and Ellie Louise bought out of administration

Value fashion chain Happit has been bought out of administration by newly formed company Ellie Louise Trading Limited.

Yorkshire-based value clothing company 2nd Thoughts, which operated the Ellie Louise, Happit and Images store chains in England and Scotland, went into administration on January 4 as a result of falling sales.

The business and assets of the company have now been acquired for an undisclosed sum by Ellie Louise Trading Limited, saving more than 240 jobs

Yorkshire-based administrator Begbies Traynor handled the deal, which will see 48 of the group’s 82 stores continue to trade under the Happit, Ellie Louise and Images fascias in Scotland and the north and Midlands regions of England. The Leeds head office will also remain open and will be taken over by Ellie Louise Trading.

Value womenswear specialist 2nd Thoughts acquired Dunfermline-based fashion chain Happit in June 2008, taking on 40 shops in Scotland. Before the administration, the group had 82 stores nationwide, including 12 in Yorkshire, and had a turnover of £14m a year.

Bob Maxwell of Begbies Traynor, said: “This is the best possible outcome in the circumstances – achieving a prompt sale of the business as a going concern will enable the remaining stores to continue trading, safeguarding the existing jobs.

“This long-established firm has been another victim of the downturn in the retail sector, but the business built up over the last thirty years will remain in the hands of the family, giving it the best chance of recovery.”

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