Life & Style Retail in administration

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The Independent Online

A fashion chain formed following last year's collapse of Ethel Austin fell into administration yesterday, casting uncertainty over the future of more than 1,000 jobs.

Life & Style Retail, which runs 91 stores across the UK, has appointed RSM Tenon as administrator after becoming the latest victim of the tough retail environment. The joint administrator, Simon Bonney, said the business would trade as normal while a buyer is sought. There have been reports that a private equity firm could rescue the group.

The company was formed from the remnants of the Ethel Austin fashion chain, which collapsed in March 2010. Elaine McPherson, formerly the chief executive of Ethel Austin, bought nearly 100 of its stores from administrators and gave it a new name, saving 1,183 jobs in the process.

It was the second time she had done so as Ethel Austin had gone into administration in 2008. Ms McPherson made her fortune selling the MK One fashion chain alongside Philip Green in 2004.

Ethel Austin, which once ran 300 stores, was formed in 1934 by Ethel and George Austin from a council house in Liverpool.