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MBT ‘has no future’ if no saviour is found for Swiss owner

The administrator of comfort footwear brand MBT has warned that if a buyer is not found for the business’s Swiss parent company within a matter of weeks, the brand will not have a future.

Chris Laughton of Mercer & Hole, which was last week appointed joint administrator of Masai GB Ltd, the UK arm of MBT, told Drapers that unless a buyer for parent Masai Marketing & Trading AG is found soon, stock could run out.

“If the overseas business can be revived, then that gives the UK business scope to continue, but if no one comes in to buy the business and kick-start production then the operation here will not be able to continue,” he said.

“Anybody who knows the business will know there is a relatively limited time that this UK operation can continue without having supplies. We are talking weeks rather than months.”

One MBT stockist told Drapers he doubted a buyer would be found for the business. “I would be surprised if anyone steps up to the plate to drive the business forward,” he said. “It’s a bit of a dead duck, to be honest.”

Frances Chalmers, owner of indie Exclusive Footwear in York, disagreed.

“I’m confident a buyer can be found,” she said. “They haven’t moved the product on enough in recent years but there is no one else like them and it would be a shame if it couldn’t be saved.”

Mercer & Hole said it had shut two of MBT’s 10 standalone stores in Guildford and Tunbridge Wells as part of the administration process.

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