Mark One founder sells fashion retailer months after rescue

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The Independent Online

The founder of Mark One has sold the ailing value fashion retailer just five months after rescuing it out of administration.

Mark Brafman, who founded Mark One in the 1970s before pursuing other ventures, sold his stake in the retailer for an undisclosed sum to businessman Mr Bali Singh last week.

This month, fears had again been growing for the future of Mark One, which is reported to have been suffering from depleted stock levels in stores. However, it is understood that Mr Singh, who has taken the helm as Mark One's managing director, has raised funding to safeguard its immediate future. Mark One declined to comment, but a statement is expected today about Mr Singh’s plans for the 154-store Mark One chain.

In May, the administrator Deloitte sold more than 100 of Mark One's stores to Jet Star Retail, a company connected to Mr Brafman.

A Brafman family member, Michelle Brafman, resigned as a director of Jet Star Retail last week. Dolly Deacock, a former director who Mr Brafman lured back to head up its buying team in July, also resigned this month.

The value fashion retailer – which rebranded the business back to its original name of Mark One in September from MK One - has struggled to compete with value fashion giant Primark and the clothing offer of the supermarkets during the credit crunch.

The value fashion retailer collapsed into administration in May after Hilco bought it from its former owner Baugur, the beleaguered Icelandic investment firm. In early May, Baugur sold the value fashion retailer to Hilco, the restructuring company, but Mark One collapsed into administration a few weeks later.

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