Formerly prolific High street fashion retailer, Jane Norman, has entered administration for the second time in three years. Parent company, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, will keep trading the brand online and in overseas department stores, whilst handling any other international retail concerned with the brand name. Even so, the remaining 24 Jane Norman stores in the UK and Ireland are set to be placed into administration, as the business has lost its fight to continue retaining its money-losing high street retail sites.
Draper reported that the company will carry on running its online and international concession stores normally and will endeavour to keep their high street branches open for as long as they can before their imminent closure.
The company currently has 157 staff on its roster; of which 57 work full time and 100 are employed on a flexible, part-time basis. Their rights and entitlements will be outlined in ongoing discussions with insolvency practitioners or public sector bodies, as these administrators seek a route which could lead to financial salvation for the company. Through a sale to a new buyer, whether that be whole or part, this could be feasible.
The administrators have said: “We intend to continue trading the stores for as long as possible with a view to achieving the best outcome for all concerned, in particular those people based in the stores”
It is the staff based in the stores who are expected to be the most adversely affected; their occupation status remains shrouded in a fog of uncertainty, as news of the forthcoming closures of the high street stores has reached the wider public.
Ross confronts the reality of the situation: “It is likely, however, that store closures are inevitable.”
Recognizable brand names entering administration has not been an irregular occurrence in recent times. Jane Norman joins a reputable list of obsolete former high street giants including Jessops, Blockbuster and HMV.
A statement issued by the company said: “Like many retailers, we have seen extremely challenging conditions on the high street for several years in what is a very competitive sector in young fashion.
“While we have made every effort for a number of years to makes those stores work, that part of the business is no longer viable.”
Jane Norman also went into administration in 2011 with debts of roughly £140m. However, the appeal of the brand name proved worthy in the eyes of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, who swiftly acquired 28 stores as part of a package deal. A second failure in such a short space of time could prove too harmful to any chance of a second rejuvenation.
However, the brand will not be discontinued entirely, with Edinburgh Woplen Mill, whose subsidiaries include Peacocks, identifying their intention to continue selling its clothing itinerary online and in intentional department stores.
“We fundamentally believe in the Jane Norman brand and its future as a web and international concessions business,” a company spokesperson said.
“For that reason we have taken the difficult decision to restructure the business to focus on future opportunities.”