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Bank proves first retail casualty of 2015 – but more failures are likely, warns expert

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Bank may have become has become the first retail casualty of 2015, but, warn experts, there are likely to be more to come.

The multichannel fashion retailer, which is based in Bury, Lancashire, and trades from 84 stores across the UK as well as online via, is still trading, offering deep discounts of up to 70% online. But the jobs of 1,555 staff are at risk as administrators look for a buyer. Bill Dawson, joint administrator and partner in Deloitte’s restructuring services practice, says it is hopeful of finding a buyer. “All stores are open as normal, staff have been paid and additional sale discounts will be implemented later this week,” he said.

Julie Palmer, of Begbies Traynor, says Bank’s administration is likely to be followed by more. “With the first retail administration of 2015 hitting right at the start of the vital January sales period, I expect we’ll see more high profile casualties emerge before the month is up,” she said.

She said the administration was unsurprising: the retailer, bought by Hilco Capital two months ago, had been in the red for some time and struggled to compete. “Unable to compete with the bigger national clothing chains, with their larger marketing budgets, greater brand loyalty and comprehensive online offerings, Bank simply failed to entice shoppers through its doors during the peak Christmas trading period and so has unfortunately paid the ultimate price,” said Palmer.

Her diagnosis echoed the comments of Deloitte administrator Dawson. “Bank has struggled in a highly competitive segment of the retail industry and has been loss-making for a number of years,” he said. “A review of the business has determined that a solvent turnaround would not be possible and so its director has sought the appointment of joint administrators.”

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