Ethel Austin in administration for third time in four years

DUFF & PHELPS administrators have been called into clothing retailer Ethel Austin again following their original appointment in 2010.

Philip Duffy and Sarah Bell, from insolvency firm Duff & Phelps, were appointed joint administrators to collapsed Ashloch which trades as Ethel Austin and Life & Style Retail.

This is the third time the company has entered an insolvency process in four years.

In 2008 Ethel Austin was rescued by former chief executive of MK One, Elaine McPherson. The administrators at the time, Philip Duffy and David Whitehouse – now both at Duff & Phelps, but then both at Menzies – accepted the offer.

The retailer entered administration two years later in 2010 with partners from MCR appointed as administrators. While there, the administrators closed nearly 200 stores out of about 300 in the portfolio.

Ashloch was recently placed into administration by its secured creditor, with a statement from the administrators claiming this was due to a “marked downturn in sales brought on by the well-publicised economic difficulties facing the UK”.

The administrations will continue to trade the business while seeking a buyer. However, they have not ruled out store closures in its 48-strong portfolio, which will affect the 500 staff.

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