- Jaeger employs around 680 staff across 46 stores and 63 concessions
- Company also has London head office and logistics centre in Kings Lynn
- Fashion chain was on the market for £30million but no buyer materialised
British fashion chain Jaeger has collapsed into administration, putting 700 high street jobs at risk.
The group’s directors have appointed AlixPartners to oversee the process following failed attempts by a private equity owner, Better Capital, to sell the struggling chain.
Jaeger – which employs around 680 staff across 46 stores, its London head office and a logistics centre in Kings Lynn – had been on the market for around £30million.
However, no buyer materialised and Better Capital has sold the debt to a company controlled by retail billionaire Philip Day, who heads up Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
Among the designer’s famous fans are Kate Middleton, who wore a yellow dress on a visit to the Solomon Islands in 2012 (right) and a white dress at the National Maritime Museum in 2014
A statement by AlixPartners explained that the request was made after Jaeger was ‘unable to attract suitable offers despite a lengthy and well-publicised sales process’.
Insiders now expect most of Jaeger’s stores to close down, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
However the brand is likely to survive as part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill stable, which also includes Jane Norman, Peacocks and Austin Reed.
Joint administrator Peter Saville, of AlixPartners, said: ‘Regrettably it has not been possible to identify a purchaser for the business.
‘Our focus now is in identifying an appropriate route forward and work with all stakeholders to do this. We will ensure that we communicate further as this process unfolds.’
Better Capital, which is headed up by private equity baron Jon Moulton, acquired Jaeger for £19.5million in 2012, but the firm has struggled under difficult conditions for high-street fashion retailers.
Last year the firm said that total annual sales fell from £84.2million to £78.4million, while it booked a pre-tax loss of £5.4million, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Jaeger was founded in 1884 by businessman Lewis Tomalin.
Fashion chain Jaeger has collapsed into administration, putting 700 high street jobs at risk
Among the designer’s most iconic moments were providing clothing for Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition and supplying uniforms for multiple Olympic opening parades.
But the company, known for its long woollen coats and classic suits, has struggled in recent decades to stand out on the British high street and has been forced to repeatedly discount stock in a bid to prop up sales.
Andy Brian, head of retail at Gordons law firm, said: ‘This is another blow for the high street and, crucially, another indication of the huge consumer shift towards online shopping.
‘Like BHS last year, Jaeger has failed to capitalise on the growth of online retailing. As a result, it has been left behind – and left struggling – where other fashion retailers have grabbed the opportunity.
‘Jaeger has relied on its concession model but it’s clear that having a bricks and mortar presence on the high street – even in this cost-effective way – is no longer enough.
‘Online shopping is growing faster than ever and retailers must keep up, otherwise they will no longer be able to compete.
‘Jaeger are not the only chain to have struggled with this shift – and we can expect more famous retail brands to go into administration this year for the same reasons.’
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