Business

Jaeger clothing chain collapses into administration

Model at Jaeger fashion show Image copyright AFP

The fashion chain Jaeger has gone into administration, putting 700 jobs at risk in the UK.

The British retailer's directors appointed administrators after failing to find a suitable buyer for the struggling clothes business.

Jaeger has 46 stores, 63 concessions, a head office in London and a logistics centre in King's Lynn.

The firm has suffered from intense competition on the High Street and falling sales.

Jaeger, which was founded in 1884, has counted actresses, royalty and Arctic explorers among its fans.

However, it has struggled to keep up with rivals such as Burberry or see off competition from fast-fashion chains including Zara and H&M.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Duchess of Cambridge has worn Jaeger clothing

It was acquired by private equity firm Better Capital in 2012, but was put up for sale for about £30m after struggling to boost sales.

Peter Saville, the joint administrator, said: "Regrettably despite an extensive sales process it has not been possible to identify a purchaser for the business.

"Our focus now is in identifying an appropriate route forward and [to] work with all stakeholders to do this."

Reports had suggested that the clothing retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill was interested in the business.

The Scottish firm, which owns Jane Norman and Peacocks, bought some parts of the menswear retailer Austin Reed when it closed last year.

Heavy discounting

Jaeger's problems are partly because it has "struggled for years to truly understand its core clientele", according to analysts at retail consultancy Kantar Worldpanel.

Glen Tooke at Kantar said the firm also relied too heavily on special offers, estimating that discounts accounted for over three quarters of Jaeger's sales.

"This constant stream of sales and offers has discouraged shoppers from paying full price and has lessened their trust in the quality of the Jaeger product - one of its fundamental selling points," he said.

Last year the firm said its annual sales fell 4% to £78m, while it reported a pre-tax loss of £17m.

Jaeger started by selling woollen long johns and its clothes were worn by the explorer Ernest Shackleton on an Antarctic expedition.

In the 1950s and 1960s its celebrity fans included the actress Marilyn Monroe and the model Twiggy, before more recently being worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.

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