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Clothing chain MK One sells Ethel Austin

24
May '08
19 May 2008, Manchester: Philip Duffy and David Whitehouse, partners from Menzies Corporate Restructuring (MCR), announce the sale of the whole of the business and assets of Ethel Austin to a new company formed by Elaine McPherson, and to be called Ethel Austin Ltd.

MCR were appointed as Joint Administrators on 15 April. The sum paid was undisclosed but the Administrators state that it was the highest offer received.

Phil Duffy comments, “This is a fantastic result for the business, allowing the Ethel Austin brand to maintain its strong presence in the high street, whilst also saving 2,500 jobs.”

He continued, “Ethel Austin is a big name in the value clothing retail sector and we're delighted to see it acquired by such an experienced retailer.”

McPherson, the former chief executive of value fashion chain Mk One, will undertake a strategic review of Ethel Austin.

McPherson said: “I'm incredibly excited to have the chance to breathe new life into Ethel Austin. Despite its obvious trading difficulties and the recent regrettable loss of jobs and store closures, Ethel Austin remains a great value brand with a strong customer base.

“I shall be undertaking a thorough review of the business to produce a strategy to transform the business's trading performance and safeguard jobs. I want to return it to its former glory and that may well involve a revamp of the stores and the product range.

“Despite the current tough economic conditions putting household budgets under pressure, I believe that a combination of quality and great value clothing can make Ethel Austin a retail success story once again.”

The business, which dates back to 1934, had established itself as a leader in the value clothing retail sector with almost 300 stores throughout the UK, from Scotland to the South West and South East of England.

The latest annual turnover for the company was approximately £150m and the company employed more than 2,000 staff throughout its stores and at the HQ in Knowsley, Liverpool.

Menzies Corporate Restructuring


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