Sadness as Corby-based firm Aquascutum to close

Aquascutum is to shut its factory in Corby - where the company has had a presence for more than 100 years - making 115 staff redundant.

The clothing retailer, which has dressed Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother, collapsed into administration on Tuesday after making “significant losses” despite efforts made by owner Harold Tillman to turn it around.

The closure of the county manufacturing site was “necessary” to stem losses and to protect the positions of the 135 remaining employees, administrator FRP Advisory said.

Aquascutum has three high street stores - at Westfield White City, Canary Wharf and Windsor - and a further 16 concessions, including at Harrods, which continue to operate as normal.

Aquascutum has no other manufacturing sites in the UK or abroad, administrators said.

A high level of interest has been received for the remaining business from potential purchasers around the world, FRP Advisory said.

The Hong Kong-based owner of the brand in Asia is reportedly in discussions with the administrator to buy the global brand rights.

YGM Trading, which bought the Asian brand rights in 2009 at the same time that Mr Tillman bought the British side of the business, told the Financial Times the collapse gave it an opportunity to expand its ownership.

The administration and factory closure come after Mr Tillman sold a majority stake and the secured debt of fellow fashion retailer Jaeger to Better Capital, a private equity firm owned by British venture capitalist Jon Moulton, for £19.5 million.

Aquascutum was founded in 1851 by tailor John Emary. It was named after the Latin for water shield after it developed the first waterproof wool.

In its early days it was best known for a style of trenchcoat worn during the First World War.

The business’s clothes have been worn by Lady Thatcher, Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant.