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Alexon jobs saved as group sold to Sun Capital

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Women's clothing retailer Alexon has been sold to a private equity firm in a deal expected to secure the jobs of its 2,700 staff.

The struggling retailer said it had failed to find necessary funding and had appointed KPMG as administrators.

KPMG then sold the business to Sun Capital in a process known as a pre-pack administration.

Alexon, which owns a number of brands including Ann Harvey and Eastex, issued a profits warning earlier this month.

It said trading conditions had deteriorated and forecast that its performance this year would be "well below" expectations.

The group's stock market listing and trading in its shares were suspended on Thursday morning.

'Exciting acquisition'

Alexon had been looking to raise the money it needed to continue trading by looking for buyers for all of the company or one of more of its brands.

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"Unfortunately these options have failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion in the time available," the company said in a statement.

"Following discussions with the group's lenders, it became clear that the group was unable to continue trading as a going concern."

Paul Daccus, of Sun European Partners, US-based Sun Capital's European arm, said it looked forward to helping Alexon "achieve sustainable growth".

"Alexon has strong brands which operate in a growing segment of the retail sector and this is an exciting acquisition," he added.

Alexon, which specialises in fashion for older women at mid-market prices, has 990 outlets across the UK and continental Europe.

Retail consultant Geoff Nicholson described it as "a challenging takeover".

"Alexon has not kept up with the changing requirements of its more mature customers and the brands have lost much of their value," he said.

"There is a market to be satisfied, but with '60 the new 40', many retailers compete for it. It will require heavy investment and considerable skill to get the Alexon brands back to being credible players."

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