Fashion retailer unable to compete on price
Women's fashion chain Morgan UK closed its stores for business and appointed KPMG as its administrator this morning.

The retailer's business model of licensing clothing from French parent company Morgan SA meant it was unable to compete on price with its high street rivals, such as Topshop and Jane Norman, which use the cheaper method of sourcing product directly. A tough consumer environment on the high street in general compounded its problems.

Some 600 staff will be made redundant.

Administrator David Crawshaw said: 'Morgan has suffered from difficult trading conditions on the high street. Trading for the first six months of the financial year to June has been poor, with like-for-like sales down 19.1 per cent to£11.8 million. As a result of this and subsequent losses, the company faced an increased funding requirement to pay wages, landlords and creditors. The company's shareholders were not able to raise the additional finance. Consequently, Morgan SA withdrew the distribution agreement with immediate effect. In addition, Morgan SA exercised its rights over retention of title on stock, which left the company no alternative but to enter into administration.'

The retailer is privately owned by Barry Prince, who owns the licence to sell Morgan product in the UK.

It is thought the retailer asked its banker Bank of Scotland for some time to resolve its problems with Morgan SA, but the bank refused.

Morgan operates about 19 company-owned stores, 50 department store concessions and supplies 40 franchise stores in the UK.

Rival chain Kookai, which was also reliant on a French parent company for product, went into administration in January this year for similar reasons.