A few days after Austin Reed announced the full closure of its stores, it is understood that the majority of staff found out that they had lost their jobs on social media.
“About 80% of staff found out about it on social media. The staff were absolutely in bits because they had no warning,” an employee told City A.M.
Austin Reed closed down 28 stores over the weekend and continued to hastily shut the rest up until yesterday.
“They wanted everyone to get out of the stores as quickly as possible. Thousands of pounds of stock was lost because it was absolute chaos” a source close to the situation said.
“There could be around 12,000 people looking for jobs. There aren’t that many jobs in retail,” she said.
“Some of the rents were due on the buildings but that’s not the reason we closed the stores – we owed every supplier a lot of money” said a Spokesman from Austin Reed’s administrators Alix Partners.
“We addressed the managers yesterday morning, and there was a communication plan in place. But social media just blows everything out of the water.
“We told people: this is delicate and difficult and unfortunate matter, and we’d like people to keep things confidential.
“But if someone decides they are not going to that – there’s nothing we can do. Unfortunately, it was out of our control.”
Business Risk Adviser Nick Hood at Opus Restructuring noted that while administrators and businesses attempt to keep employees as informed as possible, it can sometimes be difficult.
“It depends on the particular circumstances, but administrators would normally deliver news to the staff at the same time as the media.
“It would be common sense because you need the staff to be able to send the right message to customers” Hood added.