Alexon needs to revamp its brands to survive in the highly competitive fashion market after it was bought out of pre-pack administration last week.
According to Retail Week Knowledge Bank director Robert Clark, Alexon, which operates the Alexon, Ann Harvey, Dash, Kaliko, Eastex and Minuet brands, “is one of the old school and hasn’t moved its repositioning or revamped its brands to the extent that is required”.
The womenswear retailer was bought by private equity firm Sun European Partners as part of a pre-pack deal last Thursday, as revealed by Retail-Week.com. The deal allowed it to shed £12.9m of debts.
KPMG – which had been exploring strategic options for the troubled womenswear chain – was drafted in as administrator when Alexon suspended its shares. It is thought that the need to pay its quarterly rent pushed the retailer’s finances to the brink.
Clark said Alexon, which is predominantly aimed at the older market, suffered after having to “fight on too many fronts”, with its numerous brands and its mix of stores and large concession business.
He added: “Its core brands clearly need attention to ensure its target market migrates to these brands.”
Alexon, which has issued two profit warnings in the past 12 months, has not kept pace with rivals offering fast-moving product, Clark said. “Others have stepped into the breach, including Arcadia and Next.”
Sun European Partners, which also owns furniture retailer ScS, bought the business out of administration for £19m. Chief executive Jane McNally will remain in her position under the new owners.
The deal preserved more than 2,700 jobs.
McNally said: “The capital investment Sun European Partners will be making will enable us to invest further in restructuring our store portfolio, and further acceleration of our ecommerce business.”
Daccus added that he will “build on this to achieve sustainable growth and help expand its routes to market, while continuing to invest in its market leading brands”.
Alexon – which operates from 990 outlets across the UK and Europe – has been shedding stores as it realigns its portfolio. In the year to January 29 it shuttered 51 loss-making stores, saving £6.6m annually.