Jacques Vert owner races to find investor with 1,100 jobs at risk


The owner of women’s fashion labels including Jacques Vert and Windsmoor is this week racing to secure new investors, amid fears that it could be forced into administration, putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk, reports Sky News.

Sky News has learnt that Style Group Brands, which is privately owned, is trying to find new backers in the coming days.

Without new investment, industry insiders said there was “a very real risk” that administrators would be called in.

One retail sector source said that all options, including talks with potential buyers, were still ongoing, with an outcome unlikely until next week.

If it does appoint administrators, KPMG would handle the process, the source added.

The development comes two months after it emerged that Style Group Brands had appointed KPMG to explore a sale or restructuring of the company amid a tough business environment for high street retailers.

Style is owned by Sun European Partners, a private equity investor which has also backed retailers including Dreams.

The company‎ trades from more than 1,850 outlets in 470 separate locations in the UK, Europe and Canada, and employs 1,100 people – the vast majority of whom are based in stores.

Style describes itself as the UK’s largest womenswear concession retailer, owning brands which also include Dash, Eastex and Precis.

It was formed from the merger of Jacques Vert and Irisa Group‎, and has a presence in department stores including Debenhams, House of Fraser and John Lewis’s online operation.

A potential sale or restructuring – which sources said could lead to a reduction in‎ the number of outlets under a new owner – comes amid a flurry of auctions of women’s fashion brands.

The parent company of Oasis and Warehouse is also up for sale, while Jaeger recently changed hands after falling into administration.

Hobbs is also on the market, with shareholders in LK Bennett recently pumping millions of pounds into the business to fund expansion plans.

Clothing retailers are facing growing pressure from the impact of inflation, which will lead to substantial price hikes, and concern about the consumer spending climate.

Other costs such as those associated with the national living wage and apprenticeship levy are also posing a significant challenge on the high street.

A Sun European spokesman declined to comment on Monday.