Viyella, the 225-year old clothing retailer, today became the latest retailer to fall victim to the economic downturn when its collapsed into administration and put about 450 jobs at risk.
The chain, which was founded in 1784 and has over 100 stores and concessions across the UK, collapsed following an “assessment of the current economic situation and the prospects for the future.”
Harris Watson, the investment group that owns the company, said it believed there would be strong interest in the Viyella brand.
It hopes that Poppleton & Appleby, the administrator that will now run the company and try to find a buyer, would be able to conclude an early Sale
to protect the brand and as many of the jobs as possible.
Andrew Turpin, the joint administrator of Viyella, said several groups had already expressed an interest in the business and that all stores would continue to trader while a buyer was sought.
Viyella’s downfall emerged a day after Woolworths’ closed its final 200 shops, ending 99 years of History
on the high street, and Adams, the clothing retailer, axed 850 jobs and closed 111 of its stores.
Earlier this week, Waterford Wedgwood collapsed, putting 1,900 UK jobs in danger.
The downturn has claimed a number of other retailers, including Zavvi, the former Virgin Megastore group, Whittard of Chelsea and Officer’s Club, the men’s clothing chain. Some groups have found buyers while others are still searching for white knights to rescue their businesses.
Meanwhile, FishWorks, the AIM-listed London restaurant chain, has suspended its shares amid concerns about the financial health of the company.
The chain, which has outlets in Chelsea, Primrose Hill, Islington and the West End said today it has “continued to experience challenging market conditions.”
“As a result, and following discussions with its bank, FishWorks announces that it has requested a suspension, with immediate effect, of trading of its shares on AIM, pending clarification of the company's financial position and strategic options,” said the company.
In November, FishWorks revealed it had made a £5.5 million loss for the year. Its shares were trading at 1.85p a share before they were suspended, down from a high of 50p in November.
Mitch Tonks, the former fishmonger who founded the company in 1994, stepped down from the board last August. The company also returned the lease of its loss-making Notting Hill site to the landlord.
At the time, the embattled chain said Mr Tonk's departure was "a natural progression" given his increasing focus on independent projects and his media career, although he retained an "ambassadorial role" with FishWorks.
However, his exit rounded off a series of management changes at the struggling company. Mr Tonks reliquished the role of chief executive in 2007 to Paul Goodale, previously the chief operating officer, while Ratnesh Bagdai, the finance director, also resigned.
Fishworks was rescued in 2007 when Gary Ashworth, the recruitment entrepreneur who is now the company's chairman, and Luke Johnson, the Channel 4 chairman, bought a combined 33 per cent stake as part of a Pounds 2.5 million fundraising at 6p a share.