Tough trading claims two victims

Scottish retailer Sports Connection and fashion group Paragon have become the latest victims of tough retail trading conditions.

Sports Connection has gone into receivership, with the immediate closure of 13 of its loss-making stores and the loss of 109 of its 600-strong workforce.

The shops closed on Thursday of last week, when the company was placed into receivership at the request of its directors. The remaining 30 stores are to continue trading while a buyer is sought.

Sports Connection blamed high gearing and poor trading, particularly over Christmas, for its problems. For the year ending August 25, 2002, the retailer generated sales of£40 million.

Blair Nimmo, KPMG head of corporate recovery in Scotland and joint receiver, said: 'It's a matter of trying to ensure the business and shops continue to trade as normal. We are pursuing a sale as a whole, but are making the opportunity open to everyone.'

Ladies and teen fashion business Paragon, which has 10 stores across the UK from Bluewater to Newcastle, has also hit trouble. Parent company Margaux Fashions went into administration on January 22. Stores in Coventry and Manchester have already closed.

Paragon also has 21 concessions in stores, including Allders, and Evolutions in Jersey. The retailer has a turnover of approximately£6.5 million.

RSM Robson Rhodes has been appointed as administrator.