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Sock Shop placed in hands of receivers

The Sock Shop retail chain was placed in receivership yesterday following talks with the company's bankers. The 97-strong chain, which employs 600 staff, is the latest part of the collapsed Facia retail group to go into receivership, joining Oakland menswear, Contessa, Torq jewellers and Red or Dead.

KPMG has been appointed as receiver to Sock Shop and said it would continue to operate the chain as a going concern. No stores are to close and there are no immediate plans for any job losses. Tony Thompson, who is leading KPMG's 50-strong team on the Facia receivership, said: "Sock Shop is an extremely well known high street name which I am sure will be attractive to potential purchasers."

Mr Thompson said strong interest had been expressed in the various parts of the Facia group, Stephen Hinchliffe's retail empire, which collapsed with debts of pounds 30m on Saturday.

Almost 100 expressions of interest have been received. This includes 11 for the whole group, 15 for Red Or Dead, 28 for Oakland, 18 for Contessa and 16 for Torq. "Major existing high street retailers have contacted us expressing interest in all or part of the group and I expect further strong offers to come in." Eight offers for the property side have also been received. Grant Thornton has received more than 30 expressions of interest in Salisbury's, the luggage store group, that is also in receivership.

Facia's shoe business such as Freeman Hardy Willis and Saxone were placed in administration on Monday. Price Waterhouse reported healthy interest.

Meanwhile the collapse of Facia continues to reflect badly on Sears, which sold several of its shoe shops to the company. One Sears institutional investor said the Facia collapse would place further pressure on Sears' beleaguered chief executive, Liam Strong. "Let us just say that this has not helped the chief executive's cause," he said.