Edinburgh retailer Kiltane in deal to save Ness jobs

Kiltane head of operations Isobel Lane, right, with Ness Clothing e-commerce boss Lynne Dickson. Picture: Contributed
Kiltane head of operations Isobel Lane, right, with Ness Clothing e-commerce boss Lynne Dickson. Picture: Contributed
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Kiltane, the Edinburgh-based retail and property group, has acquired significant parts of the Ness Clothing business from administrators, safeguarding at least 35 jobs.

The firm revealed that it has completed the purchase of four branches of the high-end clothing business: in the Lawnmarket and the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, along with outlets in Keswick and York.

Kiltane, which employs 75 staff at its stores in Edinburgh, said it had also acquired the wholesale and e-commerce divisions of Ness, the total purchase price being undivulged.

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It said the deal reinforced its position in luxury cashmere, fine woollens and Scottish Tweed “while enhancing its geographical reach in the UK and internationally”.

Ness went into administration late last year. Kiltane managing director Mark Keane said: “This is an exciting development. The addition of Ness to our existing stores builds considerably on our business infrastructure and capabilities, both in retail outlets in prime locations and online.

“It also safeguards the jobs and skill sets of a very experienced and talented retail team while consolidating our position for future growth.

“We’re very confident that the deal will deliver major value to the group in the years ahead because the Ness brand offers a strong fit for us and complements the existing brands and concessions that we work with.”

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Before it went into administration, Ness operated ten stores in Scotland and five in England plus four concessions, and employed 105 people. It called in administrators from BDO following financial difficulties.

BDO business restructuring partners James Stephen and Matthew Tait were appointed joint administrators over Ness Clothing on 23 December.

Stephen said: “Ness Clothing is a unique and popular fashion brand with a dedicated customer base across Scotland and England. We are delighted to have secured the sale of the company’s four stores, preserving 35 jobs.”

Seven Ness stores – in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries, the Livingston Designer Outlet, Bath, Cambridge and Ilkley – closed in January.

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