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La Senza to axe more than half of its stores

Lingerie retailer La Senza is to close 81 of its 146 stores after filing notice of its intention to appoint an administrator on December 23.

No decision has yet been made as to when the closures will take place, although a statement issued by Lion Capital – La Senza’s private equity owner – said the rest of the stores and concessions would continue to trade as normal in the meantime.

Lion Capital has not confirmed how many jobs will be lost as a result of the closures, which will include stores in Exeter, Cambridge, Newcastle and Wimbledon, but some reports suggested that as many as 2,600 jobs could be at risk.

It also declined to comment on staff concerns over whether redundancy pay would be offered.

One source, who asked not to be named, told Drapers: “This is an awful situation because we are talking about store staff who are losing their jobs just after Christmas when they have bills to pay.”

On December 14, La Senza, which was previously owned by Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis before it was sold to Lion Capital in 2006, called in KPMG to mull over a series of restructuring options, including administration.

Just over a week later on December 23, La Senza filed notice of its intention to appoint an administrator, with KPMG expected to be formally appointed.

As Drapers went to press, a formal administration process had not taken place and a statement from Lion Capital said: “La Senza continues to work with KPMG to explore all options including a sale of all, or part of the business. The company can also confirm that it is still not in administration and that administrators have not been appointed.”

On December 20, La Senza commercial director Beverley Williams quit the business.

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