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Happit hits the buffers

Scottish value chain Happit and cashmere manufacturer JJ & HB Cashmere Mills both hit the buffers this week after poor trading conditions impacted sales.

Yorkshire-based value clothing company 2nd Thoughts, which operates the Ellie Louise and Happit store chains in England and Scotland, was placed in to administration on Monday, resulting in the loss of 140 jobs at stores and head office. Dunfermline-based Happit had 82 stores nationwide and an annual turnover of £14m.

29 stores have been closed and administrator Begbies Traynor is seeking a buyer for the remaining business as a going concern and hopes to safeguard 270 jobs.

2nd Thoughts, which acquired Happit in June 2008, was established 30 years ago by Mick Broughton. The company’s headquarters and warehouse are in Garforth near Leeds.

In a statement, Begbies Traynor joint administrators Bob Maxwell and Edward Klempka said that the firm fell in to administration “as a result of prolonged poor trading due to the downturn in the retail sector and increased competition from discount retailers”. 

Meanwhile, Scottish cashmere manufacturer JJ & HB Cashmere Mills collapsed on the same day after difficult trading conditions took hold.

The company and its subsidiary JJ & HB Cashmere Mills Coatbridge - which is also in administration - operate from premises in Innerleithen, Coatbridge and Galashiels.

Administrator BDO is continuing to run the business while it seeks a sale as a going concern. All 176 employees across the three sites have been retained, said BDO.

James Stephen, BDO business restructuring partner, said: “It is unfortunate that the economic climate and difficult trading conditions have significantly affected the retail sector. However, the company is a long established manufacturer of cashmere products recognised for its quality output. We are continuing to trade the business and hope to sell the company as a going concern and have already received an expression of interest in this respect.”

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