• Austin Reed to shut 120 stores and make 1,000 employees redundant
  • Edinburgh Woollen Mill has bought Austin Reed and Country Casuals brands
  • Stores will be shut by end of June

Fashion retailer Austin Reed’s administrators will close 120 stores by the end of June, making 1,000 employees redundant.

Administrator AlixPartners said in a statement that it had “explored all options” to sell the business but that a “viable solution which kept the business whole” had not been found.

However, Edinburgh Woollen Mill has acquired the Austin Reed and Country Casuals brands and bought five concessions, all of which are across Boundary Mill outlets in the north of England. Twenty-eight staff will be transferred. 

As revealed by Retail Week, Austin Reed entered administration last month.

It was the second high-profile retail collapse in as many days, following department store chain BHS, which has failed to find a buyer despite ongoing high-profile negotiations.

Peter Saville, joint administrator for Austin Reed, said: “We have explored all options to sell the business since our appointment and continued to trade the business with the support of the secured creditors in what is clearly an extremely challenging retail environment.

“Despite a significant number of interested parties coming forward during this period, it became clear as the process progressed that a viable solution which kept the business whole was not forthcoming.

“As a result, we have made the difficult decision to cease trading the business and commence a wind-down of the estate.”

The news comes after Retail Week revealed last week that Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley’s bid had collapsed.

Although several retailers expressed interest in saving the retailer, which was the first retailer to sell off-the-hanger suits and counted Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor among its clients, many high-profile names have withdrawn from negotiations.

Dragons’ Den star Touker Suleyman, owner of Ghost and Hawes & Curtis, and entrepreneur and former Jaeger owner Harold Tillman had also expressed interest in saving some of the chain. Current Jaeger owner Better Capital had also been linked to the heritage brand.

Names connected to snapping up select stores include Moss Bros, Joules, White Stuff and Jones Bootmaker.

Austin Reed entered administration just days after Alteri Investors acquired a large stake in the business, consisting of the retailer’s loan notes and shareholder capital, from Darius Capital.

Retail property consultants GCW is advising on the Austin Reed portfolio.