La Senza and Past Times on brink of failure

High-street names overwhelmed by brutal trading conditions likely to appoint KPMG as administrator

The lingerie chain La Senza and the gift retailer Past Times were both on the brink of administration last night, leaving thousands fearing for their jobs over Christmas.

In separate processes, both chains have filed a notice of intention to appoint KPMG as administrator – if an 11th-hour rescue cannot be completed for them.

This does not mean they are in administration yet, but La Senza and Past Times are likely to hire the accountancy firm for formal insolvencies over the coming days.

La Senza, which has 146 stores and is owned by Lion Capital, hired a restructuring team at KPMG earlier this month in a desperate attempt to reshape its burdensome debts.

Meanwhile, Past Times, the retro-themed gift chain with more than 100 stores is also working with the accountancy firm. It made a loss in 2010 and has been struggling for years.

More retail casualties are expected to follow over the coming days, as retailers battle a brutal downturn and face paying their first-quarter rent on Christmas Day.

The shoe group Barratts Priceless collapsed this month, putting nearly 4,000 jobs at risk. The outdoor retail specialist Blacks Leisure is expected to be rescued through a pre-packaged administration early in January.

La Senza confirmed its woes. A spokeswoman said: "Due to trading conditions in La Senza's high street locations and the overall macro environment which are having an adverse effect on the company, the board of directors of La Senza has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators."

She added: "The business continues to trade as normal in the meantime and there have been no unplanned redundancies or store closures."

La Senza may appoint KPMG within 10 business days.

Limited Brands – which owns the US lingerie chain Victoria's Secret and also operates La Senza in North America – is the favourite to acquire parts of the UK retailer out of administration.

Under the terms of its contract, the right to use the La Senza brand in the UK reverts back to Limited Brands in the event of an administration.

Limited Brands will open its first Victoria's Secret shop in London next year and the group is expected to cherry-pick the best La Senza shops from the administrator. But a large number of La Senza's stores will close, leading to job losses among its 2,600 staff.

Lion Capital acquired La Senza for £100m in July 2006 from Theo Paphitis, the owner of the stationer Ryman and star of the BBC's Dragons' Den series. He bought La Senza for £1 in 1998.

Past Times, the retailer of retro-themed gifts, is also on the verge of administration again. Epic Private Equity, which declined to comment, acquired Past Times out of administration for £7.75m in December 2005.

Past Times made a loss of £1.53m in the year to 25 December 2010, on turnover of £46.5m. The retailer has more than 100 stores but it typically opens a number of pop-up shops during the run-up to Christmas.

Epic also owns the tea specialist Whittard of Chelsea, which it acquired in a pre-pack administration in December 2008.

Elsewhere, Blacks Leisure confirmed it has failed to receive a takeover approach for its equity.

The update on its sales process sent shares in the group, which operates 98 Blacks and 208 Millets shops, tumbling by more than half to just 0.8p.

But Blacks said it had received bids for its trading businesses, assets and brands, which it is almost certain to sell through a pre-pack administration.

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?