Ethel Austin has been bought out of administration by Liric, a firm controlled by clothing entrepreneur Mike Basso.

Liric has acquired 32 stores and the brand from administrator Duff & Phelps.

Ethel Austin, which collapsed into administration for a fourth time earlier this month, had 48 stores mainly in the north west.

Restructuring specialist GA Europe, which recently acquired the debt of former Ethel Austin owner Ashloch and was operating the stores while it was in administration, will start a phased handover of stores to Liric.

GA Europe is also managing the closure of the Ethel Austin stores for which a buyer cannot be found.

Duff & Phelps managing director Philip Duffy said: “We are extremely pleased to have concluded the sale preserving 198 jobs in the process. Also the sale ensures a future for this well established business.

“The remaining nine stores, the Company’s head office and warehouse operations will continue to trade under the supervision of the Joint Administrators whilst a purchaser is sought.”