Jacques Vert and Windsmoor owner in administration putting 1,000 jobs at risk

Fashion Finance

The future of nearly 1,000 high street jobs is in doubt after the fashion group that owns Jacques Vert and Windsmoor appointed administrators.

Duff & Phelps, the restructuring firm, confirmed that Calvetron Brands had collapsed into administration and that it had begun the search for a buyer for the troubled business, whose other clothing brands include Précis, Dash and Eastex.

“We are continuing to trade the company while reviewing the options to sell the business as a going concern,” said Benjamin Wiles, one of the joint administrators. “Calvetron Brands has been trading a number of well-known brands including Jacques Vert, Précis, Dash and Eastex and operating here in the UK as well as internationally in Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Ireland.”

Quick guide

The state of UK retail’s ill-health

Retailers that have gone bust 2017-18

Toys R Us: 180 stores employing 3,000 staff, collapsed 28 February. Owes £15m in VAT, due by 1 March.

Maplin: 200 electronics and gadget stores, founded 1972, also failed on 28 February.

Warren Evans: bedmaker went into administration earlier in February.

East: fashion brand with nearly 50 outlets folded in January.

Juice Corp: business behind brands including Elizabeth Emanuel and Joe Bloggs went under in January.

Multiyork: furniture chain with 50 stores went into administration in November.

Feather & Black: bedroom furniture and bedding specialist with 25 outlets fell into administration in November.

Retailers under pressure

New Look has debts of more than £1bn and has lost some of its credit insurance cover, which protects suppliers if a retailer goes bust. In the 10 months to Christmas, sales fell 11% and losses hit £123m. The company intends to close 60 stores and change its fashion ranges, but faces a struggle to win back young shoppers.

House of Fraser‘s Chinese owner, Sanpower, had to stump up £25m to see the store through Christmas and its debt is rated as junk. The retailer is attempting to reduce the size of its stores by 30% and has asked landlords to cut rents.

Debenhams, a 178-store chain that is more than 200 years old, is axing one in four of its managers and considering closures to cut costs. It has warned that profits have been hit by lower than expected sales, with profit margins also down as a result of having to cut prices to match rivals.


Photograph: Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media

The group, which went through a restructuring last year, has 1,408 employees, with 997 based in the UK, 155 in Ireland and 256 in Canada. The brands are sold via 300 shops in department stores such as Debenhams, House of Fraser, and M&Co.

The business was originally founded in 1972 by Jack Cynamon and Alan Green, tailors from the East End of London. In 1977 they used their names, with a French twist, to create the Jacques Vert clothing brand.

The company has been through numerous iterations and in June 2017 went into administration before being sold to a group of retail investors, which at the time included Harold Tillman, the former Jaeger owner, and the businessmen Sandeep Vyas and Haseeb Aziz.

Duff & Phelps said the company’s recovery had been hampered by legacy issues, including high costs relative to its turnover and “simply could not restructure its cost base quickly enough or create the necessary economies of scale to succeed”.

Peter Ridler, Calvetron Brands chief executive, said the management team’s efforts had been impeded by tough high street trading conditions.

“Everyone at Calvetron Brands has worked with energy and determination to achieve the turnaround that was needed,” said Ridler. “However, a combination of four brands that needed time and investment, against a backdrop of extremely difficult trading conditions on the high street, rising costs and low customer confidence has meant that we haven’t been able to achieve this within the timescales required.”

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