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Ethel Austin in administration

3,700 jobs could be at risk after discount clothing retailer Ethel Austin and sister homewares chain Au Naturale called in administrators.

CITY & CORPORATE

Ethel Austin in administration

3,700 jobs could be at risk after discount clothing retailer Ethel Austin and sister homewares chain Au Naturale called in administrators.

Geoff Bouchier, David Whitehouse and Philip Duffy, Partners at MCR have been appointed Joint Administrators of Ethel Austin Limited and Au Naturale Limited

Ethel Austin is one of Britain's value clothing retailers with a nationwide network of nearly 300 stores extending from Scotland to the South West, and from Wales to the South East. The business was established more than 70 years ago and has grown to become one of Britain’s leading value clothing retailers with a national presence.

The company’s Head Office is at Knowsley on Merseyside, only 10 miles away from where the business was founded by Ethel Austin herself. Its sister company is the Au Naturale homewares chain.

Geoff Bouchier, Partner, MCR, stated: “The Joint Administrators are trading the Companies in Administration in the short term with a view to finding a purchaser for the businesses as a going concern. In the current economic climate there are no guarantees that purchasers will be found. We are reviewing the financial position of the Companies and are at this stage, unable to rule out store closures and redundancies.”

There is no doubt in our mind that the onset of the global economic crisis has hit the retail sector particularly hard. As a consequence of this the Companies have struggled to secure funders, which in turn has impacted their ability to generate sales revenue.

This has been compounded by poor trading conditions in January attributed to the adverse weather conditions, which severely restricted the Companies’ cash flow. The Companies have continued to seek additional finance up until very recently but without success,” added Geoff.

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