A string of beleaguered value chains that have hit the buffers recently face a new beginning next week.
Value fashion chain Ethel Austin’s administrators have sent out contracts to the preferred bidder for the chain. Former MK One chief executive Elaine McPherson – who acquired the retailer’s debt last month before it went into administration – is the likely buyer, according to industry sources.
Administrator Philip Duffy of Menzies Corporate Restructuring confirmed that three offers for the entire business had been submitted by last Wednesday’s deadline. The sale of Ethel Austin, for an undisclosed sum, is set to be completed this weekend.
It is also understood that Hilco, owners of the formerly Baugur-owned chain MK One, will put the retailer into administration next week. Hilco, which acquired the business at the end of April, is believed to be poised to do a pre-pack administration of the fashion retailer and buy back 80 outlets from the 170-store chain. McPherson has also been linked to the sale.
Value fashion chain Internaçionale’s sister brand Au Naturale has been bought out of administration by an undisclosed bidder.
Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers said the sale and that of Internaçionale earlier this month, had secured 1,900 out of 2,200 jobs.
Hilco did not return calls as Retail Week went to press. McPherson declined to comment.