Shoes chain Barratts sheds 1,600 workers
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Saturday 31 December 2011
The wave of redundancies sweeping Britain's stricken high streets gathered pace yesterday as 1,600 staff were laid off at the shoe shop chain Barratts and the toy retailer Hawkin's Bazaar collapsed, with the potential loss of 380 jobs.
Administrators were called into Barratts Priceless before Christmas amid a sales slump that has hit many big chains. Attempts to find a buyer for its concessions, mainly in Dorothy Perkins and Outfit stores, have failed, and they will be closed. The administrator, Deloitte, is still trying to find buyers for the 149 standalone shops still trading.
Fears for 380 workers at Hawkin's Bazaar and the mail order group Letterbox rose as the administrator Zolfo Cooper was called into their parent company, Tobar. Hawkin's has 65 permanent stores and 55 temporary Christmas shops. The "pop-up" stores, which employ a further 400 casual workers, will be closed in coming days as planned. Zolfo Cooper said: "The directors worked very hard to turn the business around but concluded that administration is the best route forward."
Hawkin's Bazaar was set up in 1973 but suffered what Zolfo described as "exceptionally challenging trading conditions". It takes its place in the growing line of recent retail failures including D2 jeans, which called in administrators this week. The lingerie firm La Senza and gift shop chain Past Times are expected to follow.
Administration does not necessarily result in a chain disappearing. The process is often used as a quick, cheap way to close stores, lay off staff and cut debts to allow a business to continue trading from a smaller base.
Blacks Leisure, owner of Milletts outdoor goods, is among the biggest recent casualties, but could be saved in the new year after four bidders expressed an interest in buying parts of the business.
While shareholders will be wiped out in any sale, many of the 3,500 employees could keep their jobs.
The discount fashion chain Peacocks is trying to renegotiate a £240m debt lent by banks including Lloyds.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...