Corby-based firm collapses in to administration

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BRITISH clothing retailer Aquascutum, which has its manufacturing base in Corby, has collapsed into administration, putting jobs at risk.

About 250 jobs across the 160-year-old firm, which has famously dressed Winston Churchill, and the Queen Mother, have been put at risk.

The business was bought by Jaeger’s owner Harold Tillman and its chief executive Belinda Earl in 2009 but it continued to make “significant losses” despite their efforts to turn it around, according to administrators at FRP Advisory.

Joint administrator Geoff Rowley said he hoped there were parties interested in holding discussions over purchasing the business.

The administration move comes after Mr Tillman sold a majority stake on Monday in Jaeger, whose operations were tied in with those of Aquascutum.

Aquascutum operates three high street stores - at Westfield White City, Canary Wharf and Windsor - and has a further 16 concessions, including at Harrods.

Mr Rowley said: “We are conscious of the value of the Aquascutum brand and its long-standing heritage and because of this are keen to enter into early discussions with interested parties open to purchasing the business as soon as possible.”

A statement by the Board of Aquascutum, said: “Aquascutum notes the announcement that FRP Advisory will act as administrators for the business.

“Harold Tillman and Belinda Earl acquired the business in 2009, when it had made losses of approximately £24 million the previous year.

“During the next three years, Aquascutum’s shareholders invested heavily – circa £30 million – in its turnaround. Likewise, the senior management team have worked tirelessly to develop and build the Aquascutum brand and offer.

“The challenging conditions in the UK, however, has unfortunately meant that the team have been unable to successfully turn the business around which has ultimately resulted in its administration. The Board hopes that under FRP Advisory, the business will be disposed of successfully.”