Iconic luxury fashion retailer Nicole Farhi has collapsed into administration, Retail Week can reveal.
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Nicole Farhi, which was founded in 1982 by French Connection boss Stephen Marks and his former partner Nicole Farhi, appointed Zolfo Cooper as administrator today. Zolfo Cooper said it is planning to run a sale process of the brand.
Nicole Farhi’s administration follows the collapse of Dwell and ModelZone last week. Value fashion brand Internaçionale filed an intention to appoint an administrator on Monday.
It is thought Nicole Farhi’s owners had been trying to sell the business in recent weeks after a turbulent few years in which there have been a series of management and ownership changes.
Zolfo Cooper said it will continue to trade the business “while exploring all possible options for its future including a sale of all or parts of the business”.
Peter Saville, partner at Zolfo Cooper, said: “Nicole Farhi is a very powerful retail brand. Unfortunately, as with many other fashion retailers, the decline in high street spend coupled with rising costs has led to increased financial pressures on the business.
“We are already in discussions with a number of interested parties who value the strength of the Nicole Farhi brand. We intend to continue to trade the business and will be working hard to identify the best possible outcomes regarding preservation of jobs, the value of the business and returns to creditors. As this work continues we will make further announcements as appropriate.”
Nicole Farhi has changed hands twice in recent years. French Connection sold the business to US private equity firm OpenGate in 2010 for about £5m. OpenGate later sold its stake to private equity group Kelso Place Asset Management in January 2012. Kelso Place committed to invest £15m over five years.
In May, Nicole Farhi lost its chief executive Francois Steiner, who resigned from the luxury retailer “due to circumstances that require him to spend time in Paris,” according to the group. Steiner had only been with the business a year. He joined in 2012 initially as interim chief executive after Niki Scordi left the business.
Sion Kearsey, managing director of Kelso Place, and the retailer’s creative director Joanna Sykes took over the day-to-day management of the business.
The most recent available figures for Nicole Farhi show the brand made operating losses of £5.6m in the year to January 31, 2010 on revenue of £21.7m.
Nicole Farhi has six stores including its flagship in Mayfair, London. It also operates 10 concessions throughout the UK and Ireland, an ecommerce website and a wholesale arm.
Nicole Farhi declined to comment.