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Dragon’s Den entrepreneur eyes up Austin Reed

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Retail Gazette / Edward Perkins

Dragon’ Den personality Touker Suleyman has expressed his interest in the collapsed fashion retailer Austin Reed. The entrepreneur confirmed on Thursday that “parts of the business (Austin Reed) are on my radar” according to The Guardian.

Suleyman has a strong background in fashion retail, currently owning menswear brand Hawes & Curtis and womenswear label Ghost, in addition to the wholesales Low-Profile which supplies to retailers such as M&S.

The 116 year old retailer, best known for its suits fell into administration at the end of April, failing its 1,184 employees in its inability to uphold its 100 stores and 50 concessions. Like the recently fallen BHS, Austin Reed was given a company voluntary agreement in 2015, which resulted in the closure of 31 loss-making stores.

The clothing retailer also relocated from its London flagship premises at 113 Regent Street in 2011 for a smaller site nearby.  

At the time of the collapse one of the joint administrators Peter Saville said “Austin Reed is a well-regarded and iconic brand and therefore we are confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers.”

A spokeswoman for Austin Reed’s administrators revealed that the retailer had received the interest of over 50 buyers. It is understood that the business is likely to be sold in separate parts, splitting its womenswear and menswear brands. It’s unlikely that a buyer would be interested in purchasing the full estate.

Austin Reed has also sparked the interest of private equity firm Better Capital which also owns fashion brand Jaeger. The owner of the firm Jon Moulton noted that the fallen retailer was an “interesting” proposition. Competitors Moss Bros, Joules and White Stuff have also expressed some interest.

 

Published on Friday 06 May by Talya Misiri

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