FASHION retailer Jaeger has fallen into administration – with the possible closure of 48 stores and the loss of 680 jobs.
Designs by the expensive high street chain are often worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Samantha Cameron and Kate Moss.
Jaeger’s stores and concessions will continue to trade as normal, while the future’s chain is decided, Retail Week said.
The troubled fashion firm has appointed insolvency firm Alix Partners to handle the administration process following failed attempts by the company’s private equity owner, Better Capital, to sell the struggling business.
However, no buyer materialised and last week Better Capital sold Jaeger’s debt to a company understood to be controlled by the retail billionaire Philip Day, who heads up Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
A statement by AlixPartners explained that the request was made after Jaeger was “unable to attract suitable offers despite a lengthy and well-publicised sales process.”
Insiders now expect most of Jaeger’s stores to close down, although the brand is likely to survive as part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill stable, which also includes Jane Norman, Peacocks and Austin Reed.
Joint administrator Peter Saville, of AlixPartners, said: “Regrettably despite an extensive sales process it has not been possible to identify a purchaser for the business.
“Our focus now is in identifying an appropriate route forward and work with all stakeholders to do this. We will ensure that we communicate further as this process unfolds.”
Better Capital, which is headed up by private equity baron Jon Moulton, acquired Jaeger for £19.5 million in 2012, but the firm has struggled under difficult conditions for high-street fashion retailers.
Last year the firm said that total annual sales fell from £84.2 million to £78.4 million, while it booked a pre-tax loss of £5.4 million, according to accounts filed at Companies House.
Jaeger was founded in 1884 by businessman Lewis Tomalin.
The British brand started in 1884 and in its heyday its designs were worn by many famous faces, including Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
Advertising campaigns for the brand have been fronted by models such as Erin O’Connor and Jodie Kidd.
It is the latest retailer to suffer on the high street. Last week, Jones Bootmaker was rescued from the brink of failure, while budget shoe shop Brantano filed for administration.
Earlier this year, Poundland placed its 99p Stores brand into administration, blaming a group of unprofitable stores for the closure.
In November last year, American Apparel announced the closure of all UK shops after falling into administration.