The future of the Envy Retail business was unclear as Drapers went to press after it emerged that an intention to appoint administrators had been filed just days after the business was bought by a consortium of investors including SKG Capital boss Chris Althorp-Gormlay.
Envy, which has 23 standalone stores and about 20 concessions in Debenhams, was acquired by a consortium of private equity for an undisclosed sum from serial retail investor John Kinnaird, who also owns the Faith footwear chain. The deal was announced on March 17.
However, according to court documents seen by Drapers, an intention to appoint administrator Leonard Curtis to Envy Retail was filed at the High Court on March 18. It is unclear who filed it.
The filing of an intention to appoint an administrator does not necessarily mean a retailer will go ahead with the full administration process and sources said that Althorp-Gormlay intended to continue to trade the business.
Envy Retail could not be reached for comment.
However, separate sources told Drapers Althorp-Gormlay was also considering the sale of Envy’s own label Tom Wolfe, which it acquired as part of the Envy Retail deal.
In addition, Althorp-Gormlay is thought to be meeting with Envy suppliers this week to discuss what the future of the business could be.
One supplier warned: “The business needs stability. It seemed like the previous owners were just changing strategy to survive. The challenge is to establish if there is a place for a mid-market branded retailer. Unless [the new owners] come up with a strong long-term proposition I’m not sure we’ll continue with them.”