By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
The high street clothing retailer Bank Fashion has become the high street’s first big post-Christmas casualty with around 1,500 jobs at risk after it crashed into administration.
Confirming a report by Sky News, Deloitte, the accountancy firm, said it had been lined up as administrator to Bank Fashion just six weeks after the chain was sold to a subsidiary of Hilco, the specialist retail investor.
The move puts at risk more than 1,500 jobs, although a number of parties have already approached Bank Fashion about a takeover which could yet salvage some of those positions.
The Hilco subsidiary is understood to have paid JD Sports Fashion just £1 to take control of Bank Fashion in late November.
Headquartered in Bury, Lancashire, and trading from 84 stores, principally in the Midlands, northern England and Scotland, the retailer is understood to have struggled amid tough high street and online competition.
In its statement, Deloitte partner and joint administrator Bill Dawson said: “Bank has struggled in a highly competitive segment of the retail industry and has been loss-making for a number of years.
“A review of the business has determined that a solvent turnaround would not be possible and so its director has sought the appointment of Joint Administrators.”
A source close to the situation said the Hilco subsidiary had acquired the business with a view to implementing a turnaround, but had concluded within weeks that it was not viable.
“All stores are open as normal, staff have been paid and additional sale discounts will be implemented later this week,” Mr Dawson added.
“The company has already been approached by several parties who have expressed an interest in the business and the Administrators are trading as a going concern with a view to progressing these options and seeking further interested parties for some or all of the business.”
Hilco declined to comment.