Irisa axes 100 jobs and closes high street shops

More than 100 jobs have been axed at the fashion group Irisa after its new private equity owners revealed plans to close nearly a third of its High Street shops.

Sun European Partners has informed staff that it will shut 20 of Irisa's 68 standalone shops, of which many are the plus-size specialist Ann Harvey.

Many of the job losses and store closures are expected to take place before Christmas Day.

The private equity firm acquired the listed fashion group Alexon out of administration in late September and then rebranded it Irisa. It hired retail consultants Capa last month to help review the High Street stores. An Irisa spokesman said that Sun European Partners was increasing investment in its online operation and planned to add 31 new concessions in department stores, including Debenhams and House of Fraser, early next year, taking its total to 1,090.

The spokesman added: "Whilst it plans to close a number of stores between now and March 2012, it is retaining as many retail colleagues as possible, as a number of the concesssions will provide cross-over with its closing stores."

Irisa also presently operates the Alexon, Dash, Eastex, Kaliko, Lazy Lu and Minuet Petite brands.

Many of these brands operated by Irisa appear to have suffered from some poor trading conditions this year.

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