2,500 shoe shop jobs lost

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The Independent Online

Around 2,500 jobs are to go at embattled Barratts and Priceless shoe group Stylo, administrators announced today.

Deloitte said 220 stores would have to close, but confirmed it had secured the sale of 160 shops and 165 concessions in a move expected to safeguard 3,000 roles.

The deal has been struck with Stylo's existing management team, led by chairman Michael Ziff.





Deloitte said while the job losses were "regrettable" the sale of the remaining stores means the Barratts and Priceless brands will continue on the high street.



Neville Kahn, Deloitte partner and joint administrator, said: "The store portfolio was deemed to be too large and unable to generate sufficient profits to cover its cost base.



"As a result, the remaining 220 stores will be closed imminently, with the regrettable loss of 2,500 jobs."



He added: "We will be working closely with the Redundancy Payments Office and Jobcentre Plus to provide support for all staff, which will include a fast track process for paying redundancy entitlements.



"We are extremely grateful to the staff and management for their support throughout this difficult period."



Stylo collapsed into administration on Tuesday after initial attempts to rescue the Barratts and Priceless chains foundered.



The chains themselves had already been placed in administration on January 26.



Administrators were originally hoping to agree a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), a deal which would have given the firm breathing space in its debt repayments.



But these plans were rejected by creditors and landlords last week, forcing troubled Stylo into administration.



Stylo - a family run business - was founded in 1935 and has its headquarters in Bradford.



Its shoe shops have suffered alongside the rest of the retail sector as consumer confidence faltered, while low-cost fashion chains such as New Look and Primark also had an impact on sales.



In 2008, the group posted a pre-tax loss of £12.5 million for the year to 2 February.

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