Oakland sale signals Facia group demise

The Torq jewellery chain is the only part of the collapsed Facia group to remain in receivership after Oakland Menswear was sold yesterday. The buyer was Ciro Citterio Menswear which has acquired 27 of the 31 stores for an undisclosed sum in a deal that saves 140 jobs.

Administrative receiver Tony Thompson is still seeking a buyer for the other four shops in Richmond, Kingston-upon-Thames, Peterborough and Oxford Street.

"We hope to sell the remaining stores as individual concerns and discussions are still continuing with interested parties," said Mr Thompson.

Facia, which was Britain's second-largest privately owned retailer, was put into receivership on 1 June with debts of around pounds 30m. Since then, there has been a steady stream of deals securing the group's parts.

"The major sales of the receivership are now concluded," Mr Thompson said.

The only large part of the group still awaiting sale is the Torq chain. "We are in advanced negotiations with purchasers who have expressed interest in various parts of the chain. It is unlikely that the chain will be sold as a whole, but we do hope to have sold all the stores soon," the receiver said.

Price Waterhouse is over-seeing the sale of Freeman Hardy Willis, Saxone, Manfield and Curtess, Facia's former shoe chains which are still in administration.

The Sock Shop chain has already been sold to the Jumper retail group, while the Red or Dead design group has been sold back to its founders Wayne and Geradine Hemmingway.

Contessa, the lingerie chain was acquired by Chancerealm, controlled by Theo Phaphitis. Mr Phaphitis had previously acquired the Rymans chain of stationery shops.

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