// Poole-based fashion retailer Animal to be closed by owner H Young
// All of its stores, website, concessions and business will shut down by 2021, seven years after initially filing for liquidation
// Animal’s owner said it was was losing money and attempts to save or sell it had been unsuccessful
Animal is slated to close down all of its stores permanently and will cease to operate as a business by next year, marking the latest blow to the sector amid the coronavirus crisis.
The Poole-based retailer plans to close all of its stores, website, concessions and business by 2021, seven years after initially filing for liquidation.
Animal’s parent company said the retailer was losing money and attempts to save or sell it had been unsuccessful, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic worsened its financial state.
Staff were informed this week and a consultation process will take place. An exact number on how many will be affected is yet clear.
Launched in 1987 by surfers Ian Elliot and Nigel Broughton, Animal today has 29 stores and 236 stockists – including Debenhams and John Lewis – selling its surf-inspired clothing, surfing gear and accessories.
The retailer was acquired by supplier and distributor H Young Holdings in 2014, at the time of its last administration.
“As a result of the extremely challenging retail market which has now further worsened due to Covid-19, H Young announces it will be closing its Animal business by the end of January 2021,” H Young said in a statement.
“This will obviously be a very sad announcement for all Animal’s hardworking employees and its loyal customers
“ln this period Animal will continue trading through its stores and its website and its clothing will also be available through its distributors.
“Finally we would like to thank everyone for all their support over these many years.”
An announcement to staff said: “Over the past few years, H Young has examined many options for Animal with an aim to securing a commercially viable future for the brand.
“Over that period, the business has been loss making. This is clearly not a sustainable position.
“The group has considered the full range of options for Animal to remain in the group, including the use of third party warehousing, relocation to smaller premises and an absorption into other group businesses.
“None of the business plans for these various options has been compelling enough to justify the investment required by the group.
“We have also explored a sale of the business, but no serious interest has been expressed in buying the business as a going concern.”
Administrators were first called in for Animal in February 2014, which lead to the closure of seven stores and 50 retail job cuts.
H Young turned over £217.65 million in 2018 and made a profit after tax of £9.94 million.
Animal’s decision to close follows in the footsteps of Oasis and Warehouse, Laura Ashley, BrightHouse, Cath Kidston and Debenhams – all of whom have gone into administration in recent weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.