Berkertex is fashion victim of recession

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The Independent Online
BERKERTEX Holdings, the privately-owned fashion group that has clothed thousands of British brides for more than 50 years, went into receivership yesterday, another high-profile victim of the recession.

Christopher Morris and Roger Powdrill, partners of Touche Ross, were appointed receivers of the firm, which manufactures and retails women's clothing through the Berkertex and Genesis chains, and all of its subsidiaries.

'Trading at the company is continuing while we assess the position. Meanwhile, we have started to seek buyers for the Berkertex businesses as going concerns,' Mr Morris said.

Based in Milton Keynes and London, Berkertex employs 1,200 people and operates 250 retail outlets in the UK, including boutiques and counters in Debenhams and House of Fraser department stores. The company has 42 outlets overseas, including 26 in Spain.

It also operates Fifth Avenue, a wholesale clothing business that supplies the catalogue trade.

With an annual turnover of about pounds 40m, Berkertex specialises in affordable wedding fashions. It was the subject of a pounds 21.7m management buyout in 1986, but has been in business since 1936.

In 1988, Berkertex was the initial suitor for the womenswear retailer Ellis & Goldstein in a protracted takeover battle. A rival, Alexon, finally won Ellis. A year later it fired Ellis's Tom Reeves, who is now Berkertex's managing director.

Berkertex branched out into leisurewear in 1990 by opening the Genesis chain.