Coast shops to close in Ireland but 10 concessions saved in Karen Millen deal

Sale agreement sees up to 50 jobs saved – half the fashion brand’s Irish workforce

Karen Millen is to buy part of Coast’s Irish operations

Karen Millen is to buy part of Coast’s Irish operations

 

The High Court has given permission to the provisional liquidator of the Irish subsidiary of Coast, the UK-based woman’s fashion and accessories chain, to sell part of the business to UK fashion house Karen Millen.

The court heard that, under the sale agreement for Coast Stores Ireland Ltd, 50 of the 99 full and part-time jobs in the Irish subsidiary will be saved.

Coast Ireland operates five stand-alone stores and a further 10 concessions outlets at various Irish department stores.

Karen Millen did not wish to acquire any interest in the five-stand alone stores, the court heard.

The agreement will see Karen Millen Fashions Ltd, which has bought the entire Coast group, retain all of the concession outlets in Ireland and purchase all of the Irish subsidiary’s stock.

Declan McDonald of PwC was appointed by the court on Thursday as provisional liquidator to the Irish subsidiary, which is completely dependent on the UK parent for its stock, finance, distribution and marketing.

Creditors

On Friday, Stephen Byrne, for the liquidator, told Ms Justice Caroline Costello, that having assessed all the options, his client considered that proceeding with the sale to Karen Millen was in the interests of all the creditors and the company as a whole. The judge approved the sale agreement.

The company had cited difficulties experienced by its parent, including the collapse of the department store group the House of Fraser, where it had many concession stands, and difficult market conditions, as the reasons for seeking the liquidator’s appointment.

Turnover at the Irish chain for the year ended February 2018 was €6 million, down from €7.1 million the previous year.

The UK parent, the court heard, went into administration there on Thursday and was bought by Karen Millen. The Coast group, whose ultimate parent is the Aurora Fashions Group, had been engaged in a sales process and that was accelerated in recent months.