Administrators have been called in at Calvetron Brands, owner of the Jacques Vert, Précis, Dash and Eastex multichannel retail brands.
Duff & Phelps was appointed to handle the administration today as the business proved the latest casualty of a challenging retail environment that has hit brands including Toys R Us and Maplin, while also pushing retailers such as House of Fraser and New Look to reengineer their store estates in order to succeed.
CBL bought Jacques Vert and its sister brands after its previous owner, Style Group Brands, previously the Jacques Vert Group, went into a pre-pack administration last June. Today all four of the brands were trading as usual online and running 30% off sales.
Peter Ridler, chief executive of Calvetron Brands (CBL), said: "Everyone at Calvetron Brands has worked with energy and determination to achieve the turnaround that was needed; however a combination of four brands that needed time and investment, against a backdrop of extremely difficult trading conditions on the high street, rising costs and low customer confidence has meant we haven’t been able to achieve this within the timescales required."
The administrators are now trading the company, which employs 1,408 people, as they look to find a buyer. The business currently operates in about 300 store concessions within branches of retailers including Debenhams, House of Fraser and M&Co in the UK, Ireland, UAE and Canada, as well as selling online. Most – 997 – of its staff work in the UK, with 155 people in Ireland and 256 in Canada.
Philip Duffy of Duff & Phelps, said: "Inflation and wage freezes have been major concerns for many fashion retailers and have been a driving force behind decreased spending. However CBL has also been carrying a number of legacy issues dating back to the acquisition of the assets and business of SGBL resulting in a high cost base relative to its turnover. In the difficult retail environment we are facing today CBL simply could not restructure its cost base quickly enough or create the necessary economies of scale to succeed."
The Jacques Vert business was originally founded in 1972 by two tailors from the East End of London, Jack Cynamon and Alan Green who combined their names to make the Jacques Vert brand in 1977. It expanded in December 2002 with the acquisition of William Baird Plc.