More than 2,000 jobs in the retail sector will be threatened as Oasis and Warehouse, two of the best known names on the main street, prepares to crash into the administration.
Sky News has learned that women’s fashion chains are about to appoint Deloitte, the accounting firm, to manage an insolvency process.
Sources said an announcement was likely Tuesday or Wednesday later.
The move comes three weeks after The Oasis and Warehouse Group, which belongs to defaulting Icelandic lender Kaupthing, began talks with potential buyers following an approach by a public limited company.
Although it appears that interest has been expressed in a chord, the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus the pandemic would have made it impossible to close a sale of solvents.
Discussions should continue with potential bidders after confirmation of the appointment of Deloitte.
The group employs 2,300 people and, until the foreclosure came into effect, has been negotiated in just over 90 stand-alone stores and 437 additional dealerships in department stores such as Debenhams and Selfridges.
Administrators should lay off the majority of employees who continue to work under the government’s continued coronavirus program.
Last week, Debenhams confirmed he called administrators, saying the move would help protect him from creditors.
However, this development has created new long-term uncertainty for dealership operators in its stores.
Oasis and Warehouse Group is headed by Hashim Ladha, former executive of the Arcadia group of Sir Philip Green and Asos, the online fashion retailer.
Its financial collapse comes during the scorching period in the history of British high street, with few in the industry optimistic that sales will pick up quickly when stores are allowed to reopen.
The wave of retail bankruptcies comes as ministers have put in place a process to suspend illicit trade laws to help struggling businesses get some respite.
Oasis and Warehouse Group and Deloitte both declined to comment on Tuesday.
In a statement released early in the sales process, a spokesperson for the retailer said, “Like all businesses operating in these unprecedented times, we continue to work on how best to navigate the current difficult circumstances after the COVID-19 epidemic. “
It was not the first time that Kaupthing had talks with bidders for brands it retained ownership after the 2008 financial crisis.
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Last year, she sold Karen Millen and Coast to Boohoo, the successful online clothing company.
This agreement, on which Deloitte also advised, was implemented via a pre-pack administration.
People close to Oasis and Warehouse say the company has shown evidence of a recovery in performance under Mr. Ladha, but that its prospects have been disappointed by the pandemic.
The retail crisis was underscored by the Debenhams crisis, while Laura Ashley also plunged into administration.
Doubts have also been cast on the future of Cath Kidston, the modern vintage designer, who has aligned Alvarez & Marsal as a director.
Retailers across Britain are scrambling to cope with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Dozens of major chains have refused to pay their owners, suppliers or the tax authorities.
Many have asked to receive emergency government funding through plans to pay staff up to 80% of their salaries – as long as they don’t make them redundant – and to defer payment of VAT.
However, the credit worthiness of most retailers means that they are not eligible to participate in the £ 330bn corporate finance facility unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month.