The year in retail

More and more shops are struggling financially, with some going out of business. Here we cast our eye over the past 12 months in retail...

First half of 2011

JUNE was a hard month, with discount retailer TJ Hughes, the UK arm of homewares firm Habitat and fashion chain Jane Norman going into administration. But 700 jobs were saved due to the sale of six TJ Hughes stores to Benross, while Argos-owner Home Retail Group acquired the website and three stores in central London for £24.5m. Edinburgh Woollen Mill stepped in and snapped up 58 Jane Norman stores.

In May, Focus DIY held a massive closing down sale after administrators shut 123 stores while, in February, windscreen repair and replacement firm Auto Windscreens called in administrators, with around 1,100 people losing their jobs.


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HOMEFORM Group, which owned Möben kitchens, was put into administration, making 557 staff redundant as the assets of Möben and Dolphin bathrooms were broken up and sold, with just Sharps Bedrooms being saved.

The Manchester-based company, which also owns Kitchens Direct, called in Deloitte after the company suffered “significant difficulties” as trading slumped in the economic downturn.

More than 600 jobs were saved after Sharps Bedrooms was bought by a division of private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, which also owns Homeform. It also bought 96 of the firm’s 160 showrooms and concessions and a factory in the West Midlands.


AFTER a sales slump in August, the owner of womenswear chains Ann Harvey, Eastex and Kaliko was sold to private equity firm Sun European in a pre-pack administration deal saving almost 3,000 jobs. Alexon, with more than 990 outlets in the UK and Europe, was saved after it was bought by the owner of sofa chain ScS for an undisclosed sum, with no redundancies.

In August, privately-owned furniture chain Lombok closed nine stores in England, but saved three as its owners Angora bought them back in a pre-pack administration. Lombok was named after the Indonesian island and sells bedroom, dining room, lounge and office furniture.


DIRECTORS of La Senza voted to pull the plug on the lingerie chain just days before Christmas with the threat that more than 2,600 workers could lose their jobs in the new year.

Its 158 shops will remain open to try to recoup as much as possible for lenders while administrators KPMG seek a buyer. The firm’s owners, Lion Capital, acquired it from Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis for £100 million in 2006.

Bradford-based shoe chain Barratts Priceless, which has 191 stores across the UK, collapsed into administration for the second time in two years on 8 December, putting almost 4,000 jobs at risk.